BeatRoute BC Print Edition March 2018

beatroute

BeatRoute Magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment paper with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise. The paper started in June 2004 and continues to provide a healthy dose of perversity while exercising rock ‘n’ roll ethics.

Currently BeatRoute’s AB edition is distributed in Calgary, Edmonton (by S*A*R*G*E), Banff and Canmore. The BC edition is distributed in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo. BeatRoute (AB) Mission PO 23045 Calgary, AB T2S 3A8 E. editor@beatroute.ca BeatRoute (BC) #202 – 2405 E Hastings Vancouver, BC V5K 1Y8 P. 778-888-1120

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march‘18

PUBLISHER

BeatRoute Magazine

LAYOUT

& PRODUCTION MANAGER

Naomi Zhang

FRONT COVER PHOTO

Colin Medley

FRONT COVER DESIGN

Randy Gibson

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

Lauren Donnelly

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Will Cowan • Lauren Donnelly • Chris

Dzaka • Kennedy Enns• Colin Gallant •

Jeevin Johal • Prachi Kamble • Brendan

Lee • Christine Leonard • Jess Mackie •

Dayna Mahannah • Mackenzie Mason

• Jamie McNamara • Keir Nicoll •

Adesuwa Okoyomon • Sepehr Rashidi

• Daniel Robichaud • Frankie Ryott •

Thomas Sadek • Craig Sinclair • Max

Szentveri • Willem Thomas • Alec

Warkentin

CONTRIBUTING

PHOTOGRAPHERS &

ILLUSTRATORS

Robert Anderson • Nedda Asfari •

Peter Battistoni • Bryce Hunnersen

• Bill Crisafi • Elissa Crowe • Tj Dawe

• Itai Erdal • Cody Fennell • Greg

Gallinger • Maria Jose • Dahila Katz

• Anita Lewis • Connor Mccracken •

Nelson Mouellic • Darrole Palmer • Jaik

Puppyteeth • Daniel Rampulla • Rachel

Robinson • Shimon Karmel • Raymund

Shum • Landon Speers • Jake Stark •

Steven Taylor • Matthew Zinke

ADVERTISING INQUIRIES

Glenn Alderson

glenn@beatroute.ca

778-888-1120

Managing Editor

Jordan Yeager

jordan@beatroute.ca

Local Music

James Olson

james.olson@beatroute.ca

The Skinny

Johnny Papan

johnny@beatroute.ca

Comedy

Graeme Wiggins

graeme@beatroute.ca

Editor-In-Chief

Glenn Alderson

glenn@beatroute.ca

City

Yasmine Shemesh

yasmine@beatroute.ca

BPM

Alan Ranta

alan@beatroute.ca

Live Reviews

Darrole Palmer

darrole@beatroute.ca

Film

Hogan Short

hogan@beatroute.ca

04 HI, HOW ARE YOU? 17

05

06

12

15

16

- With Mary-Lee Bouma of

REED

PULSE - CITY BRIEFS!

CITY

- International Women’s

Brew Day

- International Women In

Film Festival

- Bombhead

- Jamnasium

- Flamingo Lounge

- Skin Deep

THE LIFE AND DEATH

OF VANCOUVER’S

DIVE BARS

THEATRE

- 40 Years Of Bill Millerd

- The Chelsea Hotel

COMEDY

- Gavin Matts

- Jake & Amir

18

20

23

24

26

29

34

COVER

- U.S. GIRLS

THE JUNO

AWARDS

MUSIC

- Antibalas

- ACTORS

- Alvvays

- Joshua Hyslop

- Alex Maher

THE SKINNY

- Ministry

BPM

- Seasons Festival

- Chromeo

- Cut Chemist

FILM

ALBUM REVIEWS

- Hot Snakes

HOROSCOPES

Photo by Marcelo Krasilcic

DISTRIBUTION

Gold Distribution (Vancouver)

Mark Goodwin Farfields (Victoria)

Web

Jashua Grafstein

jash@beatroute.ca

Social Media

Mat Wilkins

mat@beatroute.ca

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Vancouver BC Canada

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editor@beatroute.ca • beatroute.ca

©BEATROUTE Magazine 2018. All rights reserved.

Reproduction of the contents is strictly prohibited.

Page 18 - Kid Koala is nominated for Electronic Album of the Year at the 2018 JUNOS.

Photo by Corinne Merrell

March 2018 3


WITH MARY-LEE BOUMA OF REED

LAUREN DONNELLY

In the year of #MeToo and #TimesUp, it feels

especially important to recognize how far we’ve

come in pursuit of equality and how far we’ve

yet to go. On March 8, International Women’s

Day celebrates what women have achieved while

acknowledging the challenges that persist. As

systemic inequities are revealed in every industry,

it’s a good time to reflect on the year’s progress

while also asking ourselves where do we go from

here?

On March 9, REED (Resist Exploitation, Embrace

Dignity) celebrates International Women’s Day

by hosting Raising Hope, their fourth annual

fundraiser, at the Heritage Hall. Operating since

2005, REED’s mission is to end trafficking and

sexual exploitation by working towards equality

for women systemically and individually. They also

love Jesus.

In an effort to learn more about this East

Vancouver-based, women-led group, BeatRoute

met with Mary-Lee Bouma, co-executive director

of the non-profit.

BR: How did you get involved as a co-director at

REED?

MLB: I have been a justice activist my whole adult

life and a feminist since graduate school. For me,

REED put together the issues of violence against

women and equality for women. I do much more

of the resist exploitation side and my co-worker,

[co-director] Adria Pritchard Doll, does more of

the embrace dignity side working with women.

BR: What have you got up your sleeves for this

2018 charity event?

MLB: There will be an excellent band and

wonderful food. Also we’ll be spotlighting a

powerful activist from the neighbourhood.

BR: Why should people celebrate International

Women’s Day at Raising Hope?

MLB: It’s positive about women, it’s motivating

and you can feel hope for a society where equality

exists for women and men. People should come

and feel that excitement. And, they’ll be helping us

to do the core of our work. The more money we

have, the more women we are able to partner with

and advocate for –– speak truth to power, really

––- the poor and the marginalized.

BR: Murphy is vocal about her stance against

decriminalizing sex work. It seems REED shares

that point of view. The decriminalization

vs. criminalization of sex work debate is

contentious. How do you see REED’s role in

supporting women?

MLB: We’re pro-decrim of women but procriminalizing

the people who use or profit from

sexual exploitation –– the buyers and the pimps.

So decrim of women –– in fact the law doesn’t go

far enough –– it does not purge women’s records

and even the law still criminalizes women if they’re

too close to schools or whatever. Our thing is

about challenging the demand for paid sex and

then lending our voices to the women who have

survived. When people talk about the sex industry,

there’s an image of a woman with fishnet stockings

and high heels or whatever leaning into a car. But

when people write about us, we ask them to use

a graphic of men –– we want to switch the focus

from the women to those who profit from the

[exploitation of] women. Women are still being

exploited here and the sex buyers aren’t being

apprehended at all.

BR: Has the MeToo movement impacted the

work you do?

MLB: I think it has opened people’s eyes up to

inequality of all women in our society. So when

you slide the curtain back and you see that there’s

all this sexual assault going on and realize that even

the privileged middle class, upper class, educated

women haven’t been able to speak, it’s no surprise

then that we’re not hearing the voices of the truly

sexually exploited. It gives me some hope that we

can see real change. But we have to connect it to

all women.

BR: A moment where you saw the positive

impact that REED is having on the community?

MLB: In our years we’ve helped 80 or more

women long-term to leave the industry. We have

a bursary called Women Rising and this bursary

is educational money for anyone who wants to

increase their education and job readiness. One

woman who took courses through these funds was

able to go back home, reconcile with her family

and begin to work in a whole different field. That’s

exciting stuff.

BR: Are there local east Vancouver hidden gems

you think more people should know about?

MLB: Just Work initiative is a very cool group of

businesses helping people get back to work. And

also shout out to family-owned Doan brewery.

Raising Hope is March 9 at the Heritage Hall (3102

Main Street) and features appetizers, guest speakers

and live music by blues funk trio The Casting Crew.

Tickets are available for purchase online. For more

information about the event and the charity, visit

embracedignity.org.

Photo by Darrole Palmer

BR: One of the guest speakers is Meghan

Murphy, founder of the Feminist Current. Why

did you choose her to speak at Raising Hope?

MLB: She’s a real ally. Her website is powerful and

raises awareness and hope for women. It promotes

the equality of women and spotlights how the

demand for paid sex harms women and girls.

Mary-Lee Bouma, co-director of REED, is celebrating International Women’s Day with a fundraiser.

4

March 2018


CITY BRIEFS!

Culture at the Centre Happy Hour at Di Beppe Juke Fried Chicken Sequence Soft Cedar

Juke Fried Chicken

182 Keefer Street

Chinatown’s favourite fried chicken

joint is adding brunch to their menu.

Now available every weekend from

10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the menu includes

finger-lickin’ offerings like Chicken

and Waffles, the Juke Breakfast

Sandwich, and Chicken Fried Steak.

Wash it down with a Breakfast Club

cocktail (bourbon, rum, cereal milk,

spice) or an Excuse Me Miss (jasmine

vodka, lillet, pear, vanilla, lime).

Soft Cedar

March 24 at York Theatre

Presented by Corbin Murdoch and

Meghan Robinson, Soft Cedar’s

inaugural season presents a series of five

intimate concert experiences from local

musicians on all three of the Cultch’s

stages. This month, the York Theatre

will host singer/songwriter/violinist

Hannah Epperson.

Culture at the Centre

March 18-October 8 at Museum of

Anthropology

For the first time, six First Nations

communities have collaborated to

curate an exhibition showcasing their

cultures under one roof. Through

three themes – Land and Language,

Continuity and Communities, and

Repatriation and Reconciliation – the

Musqueam, Squamish, Lil’wat, Heiltsuk,

Nisga’a, and Haida nations share the

importance of the work being done in

five Indigenous-run cultural centres in

BC, in their own voices.

Happy Hour at Di Beppe

8 W Cordova Street

The newly opened Italian cafe and

ristorante is introducing a happy hour

inspired by a traditional Venetian

bacaro: a gathering place where both

locals and tourists enjoy an aperitivo

and cicchetti (little bites like olives,

pickled vegetables, and cured meats).

Happy hour drinks are available in the

cafe from 3 to 6 p.m. The bacaro menu

is available from 3 to closing.

BeatRoute Happening

saveonradio.com

We have a weekly podcast! Tune in

every Monday from 2 to 4 p.m. to

saveonradio.com (or find the link on

our website) to hear our editor-in-chief

Glenn Alderson discuss music and

events happening in the community, as

well as interview local creatives.

The After After Party

March 6-18 at Vancity Culture Lab

The recipient of the 2016 Cultchivating

the Fringe Award (the Vancouver

Fringe Festival’s annual award to a

production that displays potential for

further development), this play follows

two best friends as they try to piece

together – with the help of drug-fuelled

time travel – the happenings of a wild

party that landed them in a raccoon

sanctuary.

My Roots

March 10 at Suite Genius Mount

Pleasant

Immigrants from the Middle East, Asia,

or Africa are invited to write about

their experiences concerned with the

concepts of “place” and “home” in

this free workshop presented by the

Vancouver Writers Festival. Select

pieces written in the workshop will be

published in a book titled My Roots.

The Main Event 11:11

March 9 at Rickshaw Theatre

The semi-annual dance showcase, now

in its 11th edition, brings together

more than 500 West Coast street

dancers, from legendary dancers and

choreographers on the scene to rising

stars. Don’t miss what promises to be a

spirited and inspiring night.

Sequence

March 14-24 at Presentation House

Theatre

Is luck pre-determined? Or

programmed, even? This science thriller

explores the notion, with a student who

defies mathematical probability and

a man who has successfully predicted

the Super Bowl coin toss for 20 years.

Presented by Realwheels Theatre,

Sequence features an integrated cast

that includes two actors who live with

disabilities.

Haida Now!

March 16-June 15, 2019 at Museum

of Vancouver

Haida Now!, curated by Haida artist

Kwiaahwah Jones alongside the

Museum of Vancouver’s Viviane

Gosselin, includes an unprecedented

450+ pieces of Haida art.

March 2018 5


CITY

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S COLLABORATIVE BREW DAY

UNITING WOMEN IN MALE-DOMINATED BEER INDUSTRY

DAYNA MAHANNAH

Callister Brewing promotes equality in brewing.

March brings a new concept to brewing:

collaboration. It may sound like an old philosophy,

but it also may change the way you look at craft

beer. International Women’s Collaborative Brew

Day is exactly that: a chance for women to get

together and make beer, whether brewing is a

simple curiosity or a full-blown passion.

“I want to take some of the mystery out of this,”

says Diana McKenzie. “I want it to be accessible to

people.”

McKenzie is the co-owner of Callister Brewing,

another innovative idea in the industry. Started in

2015 with her partner, Chris Lay, the small brewery

is a “collaborative co-working space” which allows

brewers to rent space for one year at a time to

create and sell their product.

“It’s really the first of its kind in Canada,”

McKenzie says. The concept was inspired by a

commissary kitchen in Houston, Texas. Housing

a small pilot system, home-brewers were invited

to use the space and sell their beer in the cafe out

front.

With a philosophy like this, Callister’s decision

to host IWCBD is not out of character. The

event itself began back in 2014 with the idea of

bringing women together on a global scale and

de-stigmatizing their prominence in a maledominated

industry. Unfortunately, sexism in the

workplace has not evolved into oblivion.

“It’s there,” McKenzie nods. “One of my goals

is to get women connected with like-minded

people. Part of the battle is building a community

– it’s connecting people with other people who

are having the same challenges.”

The event will take place within Callister

Brewing, with McKenzie guiding the group

through a user-friendly tutorial on brewing from

start to finish.

“I will be talking about what’s happening and

why,” she says. “It’ll be more about networking

and learning… sort of an introduction.” McKenzie

will also cover home-brewing and other

community-minded options, like VanBrewers. Of

course, there will be time at the end of the day for

a cheeky pint.

The 2018 IWCBD theme is the ambiguous

“Unite Exotic.” For McKenzie, this means a spin

on a Belgian Golden Strong Ale – the recipe will

include coriander, ginger, and grains of paradise.

For those who have ever wanted to demystify

beer, the IWCBD at Callister Brewing is a solid

initiation point.

“Let’s make it a positive stepping stone for

getting into beer.”

Cheers to that.

Callister Brewing is located at 1338 Franklin Street.

International Women’s Collaborative Brew Day is

held on March 11 from 11-5pm. Register at info@

callisterbrewing.com. Space is limited.

6

VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL WOMEN IN FILM FESTIVAL

CELEBRATING ON THE PATH TOWARDS EQUALITY

HOGAN SHORT

As the dialogue continues to evolve around ways

to achieve equality in the film industry, we can

simultaneously do another thing — celebrate.

These conversations are pushing society towards

seeing women in film now more than ever

before. On March 6 to 11 at the Vancity Theatres,

everyone can celebrate the work of women at the

Vancouver International Women In Film Festival.

There are a wide array of fantastic short

films, beautiful feature length films, and

important films on the female experience in

the film industry. Many of these empathetic

films accomplish exactly what films do better

than any art form. We can see through the

eyes of others and learn more about another’s

situation with empathy. Laura P. Jaramillo has

created and directed one such film, Owning

the Space. She told BeatRoute about her own

experiences and why she felt so compelled to

make this film at this time. “I went to a day of

conferences at the Vancouver Film Festival. It

was a fantastic opportunity to have an inside

look at the film industry today. I was both

inspired and touched. Out of the six panelists,

only one was male. This clearly female dominant

panel shared their wonderful insights and

not so wonderful experiences in filmmaking.

Just days after that, the unmasking of Harvey

Weinstein was confirmation and validation of the

powerlessness.”

Jaramillo sees the ugly but she hopes that her

film can help change the pattern. There is good

to come from this and that has to happen. “It’s

impossible to solve a problem when you don’t

know the problem exists. Now is the time to

continue to expose structural inequality and

work on hard facts to steer the industry in the

right direction. The public revelations from film

Director Quentin Tarantino can illustrate these

statements. He regretted not taking the women’s

stories seriously enough.”

Women make up 17 per cent of the directors

in Canada. Laura P. Jaramillo is a rarity and

hopefully that will end soon through her efforts

and other people like her. Go and check out

something at the festival this year. Whether you

want to support this movement or experience

the world in another’s eyes. Either way you will

see expertly crafted films that hopefully inspire

both producers and future female filmmakers.

Vancouver International Women In Film Festival

takes place March 6 to 11 at Vancity Theatres.

Owning The Space producer/director Sharon McGowan.

March 2018


SUNDAY MARCH 25

ARCADE FIRE

PLUS

ARKELLS | DANIEL CAESAR | JESSIE REYEZ

HOSTED BY

MICHAEL BUBLÉ

#JUNOS | JUNOAWARDS.CA

SPACE PROVIDED BY


Mona Hatoum Misbah (2006 - 2007) brass lantern, metal chain, light bulb, rotating electric motor | 23 x 12 x 12 in (58 x 30 x 30 cm)

Rennie Museum | 51 East Pender St | Vancouver


BOMBHEAD

REMINDING US OF NUCLEAR ENERGY’S REAL DANGER

CHRIS DZAKA

John O’Brian curates reminders of nuclear fallout at BOMBHEAD.

Photo by Bruce Conner

Nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

in 1945. The pair needlessly decimated land and killed

thousands of people, though the second World War

was already drawing to a close. John O’Brian, curator

of the upcoming Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition

BOMBHEAD, believes the world has forgotten how real

the idea of nuclear fallout really is.

“My generation was the first to grow up with ‘the

bomb,’ and it seemed after the fall of the Berlin Wall,

people forgot to be afraid,” O’Brian says. “Russia and the

United States weren’t going to destroy themselves and

the world. The fear dropped off, but not for me.”

O’Brian is surprised even the 2011 Fukushima nuclear

disaster failed to fully remind people of the dangers

associated with nuclear energy.

BOMBHEAD will showcase 200 pieces of images and

abstract art, as well as historical reminders designed

to evoke a visceral reaction about the times we find

ourselves in since the inception of both nuclear power

and nuclear weapons.

“People thought they weren’t going to die from

nuclear holocaust anymore,” O’Brian continues. “The

bombs haven’t gone away. Russia, the United States

and others still have 60,000 of them. I wanted to use

photography and see what it could tell us or not tell us

about the nuclear era we are living in. There is a better

than 50 per cent chance the United States will go to

CITY

war within the next year with North Korea or Iran. As if

it’s possible to win a nuclear war. It isn’t possible. And if

[Donald Trump] is down in the polls, that’s a good way

to rally his base.”

O’Brian, Art Historian and UBC Professor Emeritus, has

been invited to lecture worldwide on this subject.

“Young people have not been interested in the very

real possibility of what this generation went through and

the possibility of nuclear war,” he adds. “I don’t expect

you to care about this; I care about this. But if you don’t

care about this, what do you care about?”

O’Brian’s aim is to kindly remind young people and

everyone attending the gallery that “the environment will

be obliterated” if ever a bomb explodes in a city centre.

The BOMBHEAD exhibit isn’t all doom and gloom.

Closely linked with Takashi Murakami’s The Octopus

Eats Its Own Leg, O’Brian has attempted to create some

ambiguity and humour within the gallery walls.

“You could say that looking at the ruins [of nuclear

bomb sites] tells us about the past, the present, and

possible future. Maybe people will realize we don’t

want [nuclear war]. There is hopefulness from ruins.

This exhibit is not meant to be completely dystopian. It

wouldn’t be useful.”

BOMBHEAD runs from March 3-June 17 at the Vancouver

Art Gallery.

JOSHUA HYSLOP

NEW ALBUM

F E AT U R I N G

THE SINGLES

“FA LL” & “HOME”

JOSHUAHYSLOP.COM

March 2018 9


CITY

JAMNASIUM

A ONE-OF-A-KIND JAM SPACE FOR ALL

YASMINE SHEMESH

Photo by Rob Stewart

Rob Stewart adds to his jam space empire with community and affordability in mind.

A few months ago, Rob Stewart was standing amongst

construction rubble inside a warehouse on 1140 Clark

Drive. The CEO of Suna Entertainment – parent company

of Suna Studios, the affordable East Vancouver jam spaces

created for musicians, by musicians – moved around the

floor swiftly as he described, with welling pride, what

this space would soon harbour: the Jamnasium, Suna’s

newest studio. Now, construction is complete and the

Jamnasium is finally opening this month, just a quick walk

from Suna’s other three nearby locations.

“It took us 18 months to find the right spot,” Stewart

says. “We looked at a lot of buildings. Our needs are

pretty specific in terms of what we’re looking for, that

being a warehouse in an industrial zone that’s inexpensive

enough to allow for the business plan to make sense. The

other part of that magical combination is a landlord that

actually believes music is worthwhile. That’s very difficult

to find. A lot of these guys are like, ‘Oh, musicians? Forget

it!’ It was challenging. We had a buddy of ours who was

walking up the street and looked up and saw a tiny little

‘For Rent’ sign in the window on the second floor, and we

just went and talked to the guy.”

The Jamnasium is the largest of Suna’s studios and, as

far as Stewart can tell, of its kind in Canada. “It’s one and

a half floors,” he says. “Because it’s a big old rectangle,

it’s 10,000 square feet. And it’s got a 2,500 square foot

mezzanine in it, so it stacks up to about 12,500.” It has

49 rooms in total – 42 monthly lock-outs and seven bythe-hour

rooms. Rates are $16.66 per hour and include a

drum kit, guitar cab, bass amp, PA, and two microphones.

And, along with being mammoth-sized, the studio will be

aesthetically beautiful, too: it’s an open space with wood

floors, insulated with Roxul and hockey pucks for extra

soundproofing.

The Jamnasium helps ease the great need for

affordable jam spaces in Vancouver (a void Suna has

been continually working to fill with their studios since

2009 – the city’s climbing real estate prices are a factor)

while cultivating and nourishing a sense of community in

the local music scene. An integral part of that sustenance

is the planned expansion of the charitable efforts that

Suna participates in. They’ve already been steadily

dedicating a portion of proceeds from shows they run,

such as TacoFest, to the SPCA and the Vancouver Food

Bank, and working with not-for-profit organizations like

Music Heals and A Loving Spoonful. With the Jamnasium,

they’ll be moving some of their hourly businesses into

the new space – one of the main businesses being

given studio time is posAbilities, a not-for-profit that

works with individuals with development disabilities.

“They do a weekly open jam where one of the

councilors comes in with everybody, and they sit down

and they play music and they sing,” Stewart says. “The

beautiful thing about what we do is it gives us the ability

to do these charitable events.”

Suna formed their own not-for-profit society, the

Society for the Advancement of Artists and Musicians, in

early 2017. They’ll be further expanding their charitable

efforts through that, especially as they’ve now also taken

over the recently shut down Diamond Sharp Studios in

New Westminster.

“It was a fully functional jam space, so we got to go

in there and just revitalize, which is great,” Stewart adds.

“And the top floor of that building we’re going to give to

our not-for-profit society so it has some space to begin its

mandate, which is wonderful.”

The Jamnasium is located at 1140 Clark Drive.

THE FLAMINGO

CLEANING UP THE “DIRTY BIRD”

JAMES OLSON

When the Flamingo Hotel and Lounge was shut down

in spring 2016, it was seen to be the end of a troubling

era for one of Surrey’s most storied entertainment

venues. The Byrd Exotic Show Lounge was particularly

infamous in the Whalley community, as it had

developed a reputation as a den of all manner of

criminal activity. What the Penmar Community Arts

Society and the Tien Sher Development Company

saw in the property was an opportunity to turn the

property around and cultivate an attractive arts and

culture scene in the North Surrey area.

BeatRoute had the opportunity to speak with

David Geertz, who, along with the help of Dione

Costanzo and many others, has been able to

completely transform the Flamingo property into a

highly desirable entertainment venue in the Whalley

neighborhood. Geertz and Penmar now run three

venues: The Flamingo Lounge, The Byrd, and the

Ocean Park Hall, along with a liquor store which allows

for a structure in which bands can get paid, and paid

well. Thanks to additional revenue streams for the

site, including a liquor delivery service and a plan to

utilize the on-site hotel for truckers, the organization’s

overhead costs are covered, allowing Penmar to keep

drink costs low and payouts for bands high.

“Going into our seventh or eighth show [since

reopening], we’re seeing return regulars, and they don’t

care [who is playing],” observes Geertz. “They like the

room, they like the bands.”

The almost-immediate success that the Byrd has

encountered is largely thanks to word of mouth.

“The biggest marketing is coming from the bands

themselves and the engineers who are talking to

everyone,” Geertz explains, mentioning that the

Flamingo Lounge has already lined up a weekly jazz

night and been booked for weddings and corporate

events.

While the Flamingo property will eventually be

redeveloped in eight to nine years’ time, Geertz and

Penmar are devoted to reinvesting in the local arts

community and turning the neighbourhood into

Surrey’s cultural hub. The “dirty bird” has been cleaned

up and has taken flight.

Check out theflamingo.ca for all venue and booking

information.

David Geertz reinvests in the arts community with the Flamingo Lounge.

10

March 2018


SKIN DEEP

CELEBRATING VANCOUVER’S TATTOO CULTURE

HOGAN SHORT

Every month, we meet up with a local tattoo artist to get to know

the individual and inspiration behind the ink.

Yi Stropky of Black Medicine Tattoo

BeatRoute: Can you talk about your style and why you tattoo

that way?

YS: I think, through practicing in animation, film and photography,

I developed a habit of seeing things through a “frame.” I showed

some of my storyboard drawings at a flash event and people

wanted to get them tattooed. I started to draw more of this kind of

tattoo flash.

BR: How do you view the culture of tattooing in Vancouver?

YS: The tattoo culture has become more broad and inclusive.

More artists from different disciplines have become involved in the

tattoo scene, and the styles of tattoos have become more diverse.

BR: Where do you see tattoo culture heading?

YS: I think that there will be more talented artists who will choose

tattoo as the medium for their expressions and new artists will

be more open to different/new styles of tattooing. I think there

will be less of a social stigma against tattooing, too. I see a very

positive future for tattoo art. I hope the history of tattooing and

the contemporary tattooing culture can be introduced to talented

young people who pursue the art in an academic environment. I

think that the permanence of the medium is an interesting aspect

of it. As for clients, tattoos are permanent; however, for the artists,

tattoo art has less longevity than a lot of other art forms, such as oil

painting. As we know, an oil painting can last for 500+ years, while

most humans don’t live that long.

BR: Can you talk about your famous tattoo trademark?

YS: It’s from one of my character designs. I try to draw emotions

without showing the full face, as I believe that the less is shown,

the more open for interpretations and imaginations. Also, I am

generally a shy person. I am not always comfortable making eye

contact, so a lot of time, I look at people from nose down. And

drawing is my way to express emotions.

BR: If you could get tattooed by anybody in the world, who

would it be?

YS: If I had to pick one, I think it would be interesting to get

tattooed by Yayoyi Kusama. She is one of my favourite artists.

When I read about the body painting that she did when she was

younger, I wondered if she would tattoo her dots on the audience if

she had a tattoo machine.

Follow Yi Stropky on Instagram at @chinatown_stropky.

Tattoo artist Yi Stropky thinks inside the box.

March 2018 11


Words & Photos by Craig Sinclair

The Death and Life of

Dive Bars

In Vancouver

“It’s nine-o’clock on a Saturday

Regular crowd shuffles in.

There’s an old man sitting next to me

Making love to his tonic and gin.”

- Billy Joel, The Piano Man

The proverbial “dive bar;” that haven of the workingclass,

a respite from the day to day drudgery of making a living,

family building, and a place where one goes to drink their

dreams into submission and be comfortable while doing so.

I asked a number of people, “What makes a dive bar?” The

answers were varied, but those answering the question always gave

it serious consideration. It’s serious subject matter, after all.

It was described as a place where at least one of the servers is

older than you no matter how old you are, where salad is a rare

commodity if there’s even a kitchen at all, and it’s dark during the

day and even darker at night. The stools are heavy and worn, the

tables marked by years, sometimes decades of heavy glasses being

dragged across them. Drinks are cheap, not because they are on

special, but because, philosophically, beer should be cheap. Maybe

there should be a pool table. Maybe there shouldn’t be one. Maybe

there should be televisions. Maybe not. Keno and pull-tabs are a

must, but are missing from some.

A dive bar should probably appear a little scary at first sight, at

least to your parents or to that friend who married young, moved

to the suburbs and had a couple of kids. It’s that little pause at the

entrance that keeps a lot of the “wrong” people out of many dive

bars.

Once you’re inside you’ll find all sorts of the most genuine

people you could hope for — salt of the Earth people. In a single

evening, as a stranger in the Ivanhoe — arguably Vancouver’s last

great dive bar — the small group I was with had no less than half a

dozen complete strangers walk up and say, “hi.” There was the man

who couldn’t believe the sole woman in our party would hang out

with guys like us, and the older woman who had a conversation

about the shirt my friend was wearing. “That’s a very nice shirt. My

husband used to wear shirts like that. I’m wearing one of his old

shirts now, but it’s not as nice as yours.” Her husband had died a

few years ago. The bus boy also talked to us a bit about something

or other. We were immediately welcomed as a part of the family,

yet we had never been there before.

And then there’s another place, The Metropole across from the

Woodward’s Building in the Downtown East Side. I used to spend a

lot of time there with co-workers and the wait staff would arrive at

the table with beer, knowing what each of us was drinking without

having to ask. My child’s grandfather has lived in Vancouver all his

life. He tells stories about how when his mother would go shopping

at the Woodward’s department store he would hide out in the bar

across the street, The Metropole, until she was done shopping. He

was also a fireman (fireperson wasn’t a word back then) at Fire Hall

No.2, and more often than not he and the crew would sit at the

Met after a shift and drink beers while commiserating about the

day’s work and their job. But even if you don’t know these stories

you can feel them when you walk through the door. They’ve been

absorbed by the porous brick. And when you skim your feet across

the penny tiled floor you release a bit of those stories into the air

and breathe it in, then exhale your own for the bar to absorb.

When leaving the Metropole after a $7 burger and beer, the

server was in the back so I packed up my stuff and made a trip to

the bathroom. When I came out I asked her, “Did you think I left

“Sometimes you want to go where

everybody knows your name,

And they’re always glad you came.”

- Gary Portney,

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

without paying?”

“Oh, no. I wasn’t worried. I like to think the best of people,” she

answered.

Sitting in Pub 340, I’m certain I can smell cigarettes in everything.

It’s probably the patrons and not the bar, but they do have a habit

of rubbing off on each other. When I ordered a beer I pulled two

fives out of my pocket, which turned out to be one five more than

I needed. Pints here are cheap. Pub 340 lives in the bowels of a

heritage building and the space isn’t much good for anything other

than a bar. It can only be hoped that this saves it from becoming

another Starbucks or Poke restaurant. There’s enough of both of

those in Vancouver already, and it’s hard to start a dive bar from

scratch.

Consider Jackalope’s Dive on Hastings Street. There’s nothing

wrong with this place; the food is good, as is the service. But as it’s

been said, “If you have to tell everybody you’re a ‘stable genius…’”

It’s telling by how many people try to capture the mystique of the

dive bar but lack the elbow grease that only time can provide. Props

to Jackalope’s for diving in nonetheless. If you’re in to metal, this

place is for you.

Vancouver is sometimes portrayed as an unfriendly place full of

superficial, egocentric people more concerned about the brand of

rubber boots they wear or their property value. And it’s that last bit

that threatens the dive bar in Vancouver, or any affordable drinking

hole in this city. The Cobalt is about to fall victim to a building

renovation, and even the staff at The Boxcar don’t know if they will

stay open during the process.

And while the Metropole and the Ivanhoe both feel like they’ve

been here forever, and they will be here forever, the dive bar is

disappearing. The Dover Arms recently shut down, as did the

Comox Bar and Grill. The Narrow on Main Street will one day

soon-ish be rental apartments, and the Brickhouse will be condos.

The Brickhouse has been a bar since the days of Hogan’s Alley, when

there was a rich African American neighborhood at Main and Prior,

including Jimi Hendrix’s grandmother. It’s been twenty years since

I first darkened the doorway of The Brickhouse, and twenty years

later, Leo, the owner, still greets me with a familiar “Good evening,

sir. Can I get you a beer?” Leo has known his days were numbered

at this location for a long time now. The only reason he’s still there

is because of the glut of building development applications at City

Hall delaying the approval of the razing of his building. Sadly, the

need for city approval has also delayed the opening of his new bar

in Hastings Sunrise. The Brickhouse will live on, but it’s hard to

know if it will capture the energy of the old one.

The Fraser Legion at 24th (Legions being the mothers of all

dive bars) was bought by a Yoga Studio a few years ago because

the property value of the space the Legion was in was so high

that Legion Command told them to sell it. Rumpus Room 1, not

necessarily a dive bar, but an unpretentious place to drink, was

replaced with condos as well, how long until Rumpus Room 2’s real

estate makes it impossible for the owners of the land to not sell it?

And the other side of it is, how long will it be until the type

of people who frequent dive bars can’t afford to live in this city

anyway?

Ultimately, the dive bar is a place to escape to. It’s a place where

nothing matters anymore, at least for a little while. As I write this

last little bit I’m sitting in the Grand Union on Hastings. I’ve just

“the bar was the best place to hide in.

time came under your control, time to

wade in, time to do nothing in.”

- Charles Bukowski

12

March 2018


paid $2.25 for a glass of Lucky Lager. The football game is on. The

waitress behind the bar is at least ten years older than me and may

have started working here before I was born. A guy just tried to sell

me a five liter box of wine for $5. People are hugging each other in

every corner of the bar, it’s one big family in here. The Keno screens

are buzzing with numbers that may or may not bring happiness to

someone, somewhere, maybe even here in this bar where dreams

come to die, or to be forgotten for a moment. Life is good. Or very,

very bad. I’m not sure which, but I’m confident the answer can be

found in a glass of Lucky Lager for $2.25 sooner or later. As long as

there’s a place in Vancouver to find a $2.25 glass of lager.

“Here’s to alcohol, the rose

coloured glasses of life.”

- F. Scott Fitzgerald

BOTTOMS UP

WITH HANA ALLEN AT THE AMERICAN

GLENN ALDERSON

How did you start bartending?

I was a super awkward teenager and cool good looking

people always worked in bars. I really wanted to be cool. As

soon as I turned 18 I got a job bar backing at Broken City in

Calgary. I’ve been in the industry ever since. I’m still awkward

and I don’t think I’m cool, but at least I enjoy what I do!

How long have you worked at the American?

Since day one. We’ve been open for about a year and half

now. I even helped paint and pick out ridiculous vintage

sports ads to plaster on the bathroom walls.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I love my co-workers. We’ve got a weird little family and

I wouldn’t trade any of them for anything. I love the

community that Patty, Ezra and Simon have built and I’m

glad I get to be a part of it.

Favorite drink to make?

I like finding the perfect drink for someone who has NO idea

what they want. It’s like a game. I yell “NAILED IT” in my head

every time. If it’s for me, then anything with tequila in it.

Go-to on a night off?

I’m really into pinball. Like I could easily spend $50 on pinball

in a night. It’s addicting. So usually places that have pinball.

I’ve also been known to frequent The Cobalt on Mondays for

karaoke. I’m a bit of a diva.

vancouver dive bars

Tell us about your greatest night at work

Any night when my coworkers are making me laugh,

customers are acting like normal adult human beings and

everyone is having a great time. Bonus if a bunch of pals

come to visit. If I’m surrounded by positive and fun people

then everything is right in the world. Don’t be a dick and we’ll

be all good!

The Ivanhoe

The Brickhouse

Pub 340

Pat’s Pub

Savoy

West Bar

Brandiz

The Regent

Any Legion

karaoke and live music, pitchers of beer for under $15

so much history in this place but its end is near

Big Rock beers on tap for cheap, still smells of cigarettes

Good food, good beer, not as cheap as it should be

Hip, but not too hip. Maybe not hip at all actually

About as honest a drinking hole as you’ll ever find

Because of the ‘z’ in the name, like you needed a reason

Don’t be afraid of the rats you see running around the

perimeter of the bar late at night.

“HAT!!! Take your hat off!!!”

The worst night?

It’s less about the worst night ever and more about the really

annoying little things. Having a keg explode in your face,

dropping a flat of beer down stairs, exploding a cocktail

shaker all over you and your coworkers, shattering a glass in

your well, discovering stupid cuts you didn’t know existed

with lime juice, catching someone with their fingers in the

garnishes, or having someone call you an imbecile in their

fit of unprovoked rage. Those things suck. The good news is

when people are dicks I get to control how much fun they are

going to have for the rest of the night. Don’t bite the hand

that fills your glass.

The American is located at 926 Main Street.

Photo by Victoria Black

Hana Allen shakes things up with a smile at the American.

March 2018 13


1

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

2

Live Acts

Canada presents

Funk in The Trunk

w. Chandra

& Russel Band

3

Blues Brunch 1-4

Saturday Sessions

4:30-7:30

Rampant Lion

9-late

4

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

5

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

6

Musical Bingo

7-late

7

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

8

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

9

Live Acts

Canada presents

Clay Ravens

w. guests

10

Blues Brunch 1-4

Saturday Sessions

4:30-7:30

We Found a

Lovebird 9-late

11

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

12

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

13

Musical Bingo

7-late

14

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

15

Live Agency

present

Val Kilmer and

The New Coke

16

Live Agency

present

Jarrod Tyler Band

w. guests

17

Blues Brunch 1-4

Saturday Sessions

4:30-7:30

The Whiskeyjays

9-late

18

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

19

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

20

Musical Bingo

7-late

21

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

22

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

23

Toddcast Podcast

presents

QUICKNESS

w. The Jake Touzel

Band & Malk

24

Blues Brunch 1-4

Saturday Sessions

4:30-7:30

JUNOfest w. Toque

9-late

25

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

26

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

27 28 28

Musical Bingo

7-late

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

Live Acts

Canada presents

The Long War

w. guests

30

Happy Hour

$

3 Beer til 5pm

Live Music

9-late

31

Blues Brunch 1-4

Saturday Sessions

4:30-7:30

Daniel James’ Brass

Camel 9-late


BILL MILLERD

ARTS CLUB ARTISTIC DIRECTOR REFLECTS ON 46-YEAR CAREER UPON RETIREMENT

YASMINE SHEMESH

CHELSEA HOTEL

CABARET REVIVAL TRIBUTES LATE LEONARD COHEN

MAX SZENTVERI

THEATRE

After 46 years with the Arts Club Theatre Company, Bill Millerd is stepping down and leaving an incredible legacy behind.

For any avid theatre-goer in Vancouver, the name Bill Millerd

is a respected one. It’s a name that has lovingly conducted the

artistic direction of the Arts Club Theatre Company for 46

years. A name that, in tenure, has left a legacy characterized

by diverse programming, a prosperous expansion, and

nurtured artists. Millerd announced his forthcoming

retirement last February and, as a pillar of Canada’s largest

not-for-profit urban theatre company, his departure truly

defines the end of an era.

“It felt time for another generation to take over the Arts

Club,” Millerd says. What Millerd has contributed to the

Arts Club, and the development of Vancouver’s theatre

community at large, has been monumental. He began

working at the company, then operating out of an old gospel

hall on Seymour Street, in 1969. It was a temporary gig, at

first – something Millerd did during the off season of his job

as Stage Manager at the Vancouver Playhouse – but the Arts

Club needed someone to select and direct their plays, so

Millerd happily took the task as his own. He became Artistic

Director in 1972, his first production being the Frank Gilroy

drama Only Game in Town.

“It was a flop,” Millerd laughs. “I didn’t know whether

they’d invite me back, but they did. The next one I directed

was called What the Butler Saw, by Joe Orton, and it was a

success. So they allowed me to stay on.”

Over the next four decades, Millerd’s vision became a

trusted touchstone that would shape the Arts Club into a

mainstay institution known for both quality and scope.

“I don’t think I ever was particularly set on doing theatre

one way,” he contemplates. “We did all sorts of different

productions that had big casts or small casts. We did classics,

like the School for Scandal. We did new plays – one was

called Creeps, by David Freeman. I think my choices were

always eclectic, always varied, always plays and musicals that I

liked and I assumed that if I liked them, somebody else would

as well.”

There is one uniting factor, however: heart.

“I don’t think it’s up to me to put on plays that are going

to teach people something,” Millerd says. “If they do, that’s

great. If people feel they come away moved or changed or

definitely affected by something, that means a great deal to

me. My favourite kind of play is a play that not only gives you

something to think about, but also touches you or moves

you, and that often has to do with the actors in it.”

Growing up in West Vancouver, Millerd always had an

interest in the arts. He was a member of his high school’s

drama club and also performed in the West Vancouver

Boys and Girls Band. Mostly, Millerd credits his time at the

National Theatre School in Montreal for really exposing him

to the possibilities of theatre. He was enrolled during Expo

’67.

“It really opened me to what theatre can do, what

live theatre can do, how you don’t need to always do it

realistically,” he says. “There’s so many different theatre forms

and I think that once I got to know the acting community in

Vancouver – because I didn’t really know much about it until

I started working as a stage manager – then I also started

choosing plays with those actors in mind, knowing how

wonderful they’d be in the particular part.”

Supporting the acting community has been a meaningful

component of Millerd’s legacy. Artists like Morris Panych

were mentored under his wing. A significant moment for

Millerd in that regard was when the Arts Club presented the

Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds in the

early 1970s.

“I loved doing that play, partly because the lead actress,

Doris Chillcott, was so brilliant in the role and it really, to

me, epitomized the plays that I was just describing, that are

entertaining and yet moving at the same time. Those are the

kind of plays that I remember, particularly connected to the

performers.”

Under Millerd’s guidance, the Arts Club has grown from

a 150-seat space on Seymour to three fully operational

stages: the Granville Island Stage, acquired in 1979; the iconic

650-seat Stanley Theatre, added in 1998; and the GoldCorp

Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre, which opened in late 2015.

Millerd ensured the GoldCorp’s first season went smoothly

before officially putting his retirement in motion and, true to

form, has made sure his beloved company is left in capable

hands upon his departure: Ashlie Corcoran will be taking

over as Artistic Director at the end of the month and, after he

directs the musical Once (opening June 14), Millerd plans to

stay on until mid-June to train a producer.

As Millerd takes his final bow and the curtains close, a new

stage is revealed for his next act.

“I’ll be doing some travelling, I’m sure,” he says of his plans.

“Ask me in a year and I’ll probably have a better idea. People

have come up to me and said congratulations, and a lot of

them are retired themselves and I ask, ‘What is it like?’ And

they say, ‘Well, the first six months are really difficult, because

you just stop work, so you don’t go in everyday. And you start

a new routine and then eventually you settle into it.’ I look

forward to that journey.”

The tribute To Bill, With Love celebrates Bill Millerd’s career on

March 4 at the Stanley Theatre.

Vancouver-based playwright and

director Tracey Power has always

believed it vital to tell Canadian

stories.

“We don’t need to see American

and European stories all the time,”

she says, “we need to see our stories,

about us. I feel pretty passionate

about that.”

Accordingly, her work has touched

on such homegrown subjects as the

life of Toronto actress Mary Pickford,

the history of the Preston Rivulettes,

a pioneering Depression-era women’s

hockey team from southern Ontario,

and most famously, the art of

Leonard Cohen, in her 2012 play

Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard

Cohen. Now, on the occasion of the

Vancouver Firehall Arts Centre’s 35th

anniversary, Power is preparing to

revive the cabaret on the stage where

it originally debuted.

The play centres on a frustrated,

Cohen-esque writer, who checks

into New York’s Chelsea Hotel to

write his next song, where he must

contend with haunting memories

from his tortured, amorous past. The

story is told through Cohen’s songs,

interpreted by six performers on 17

instruments. Part play, part musical,

and part dance performance, the

piece defies easy categorization.

“People really wanted to put a

label on it at first,” Power says. “’Is it

a musical? Is it a play? Is it a jukebox

thing?’ But for us, it’s always been an

experience. We want the audience to

experience something different and

go on a poetic journey with us.”

The reprisal, which debuts March

17, will mark the first performance of

Chelsea Hotel since Cohen’s passing

– something Power feels brings new

significance to the production. Upon

his death in 2016, the Firehall Arts

Centre was flooded with calls asking

if they planned to bring back the

popular and award-winning show;

artistic director Donna Spencer

decided a revival would be the perfect

way to celebrate the Centre’s 35th

season. At a moment when a wave of

development and gentrification casts

a long shadow upon cultural spaces in

the city, a place like the Firehall seems

especially valuable – as a young artist,

Power got her start at the venue, and

credits Spencer with nurturing upand-coming

talent in the city.

“Donna’s supportive of so many

artists,” says Power. “She’s such a

believer in different voices – in

women’s voices, and diverse voices,

and she really wants to represent

Vancouver as a city, and the crosssection

of it.”

Even after hundreds of

performances, Power believes the

dark and dreamily romantic cabaret

remains fresh: “Every time we do it, it

grows,” she says, as new performers

and modified arrangements tease

out novel ways to probe the depths

of Cohen’s music. “He’s a remarkable

poet, and he gives you a lot to

explore.”

Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard

Cohen runs from March 17-April 21 at

Firehall Arts Centre.

Firehall Arts Centre reprises Leonard Cohen-inspired cabaret.

Photo by David Cooper

March 2018 15


COMEDY

GAVIN MATTS

PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM AIDS YOUNG COMIC’S RISE TO THE MIDDLE

GRAEME WIGGINS

Sirius XM’s Top Comic, Gavin Matts releases a new album.

IF I WERE YOU

PODCASTS VETERANS JAKE AND AMIR KEEP FLYING HIGH

GRAEME WIGGINS

It’s taken as a given in the comedy world, that

you have to spend the time and pay your

dues, spending years on the road and in the

clubs before success will come to you. Young,

Vancouver comedian, Gavin Matts bucks that

trend, recently winning the Sirius XM Top Comic

competition against fierce competition from

Canada’s top young comics and dropping his

first album, Premature, while only having done

comedy for less than five years.

“It’ll be four years. The first day of JFL will be

my four year anniversary doing an open mic at

Goldie’s,” tells Matts. His rapid rise comes from a

clear self-confidence, and ability to come across

as comfortable on stage. As he says, “a lot of

times people are like you gotta wait until you

know you’re comfortable on stage. I’ve almost

never had a problem being comfortable on stage.”

He attributes that comfort to his youth, both

family and education. He explains, “My family is

pretty serious and I have three sisters. It’s a very

loud family so I’ve never had a problem saying

anything that’s on my mind. That’s probably

where it comes from. In elementary school they

used to make us do those speeches in front of

everybody and I would always win. I remember

always wanting to do those over any other school

work. I just have to thank the public school

system.”

This comfort on stage is what allowed him to

be able to drop an album considerably earlier

than most comedians do in their careers, and it

was nicely timed with his contest win. “I dropped

an album with 604 records, so the timing was

good. It’s got some sketches on there, so it’s a

little different than a normal comedy album. I

thought it would be fun, like old hip-hop records

that I used to listen to. Intertwine jokes with

sketches.”

Aside from a couple of headline sets at the

Comedy Mix, Matts will be keeping busy for the

JFL Northwest festival with an edition of Barely

Legal, the monthly comedy night he helps put

on. “That’s my and Sophie Buddle’s show that

we started in February 2016 and we’ve been

doing it every month since. It used to be in this

underground spot in Chinatown where you had

to email to get the address and now it’s at the

Slice of Life Gallery, so it’s definitely more legal

than it used to be.”

Gavin Matts performs March 7 and 8 at the

Comedy Mix, Barely Legal March 2 at Slice of Life

Gallery and March 9 at Little Mountain Gallery.

What started as a move to make it

easier for them to book theatre shows

has taken podcasters Jake Hurwitz

and Amir Blumenfeld across the

globe to more than a million listeners

each month. The depth of their fan

base isn’t surprising, given that their

previous project, an eponymous web

series for CollegeHumor, was the

website’s longest running show with

more than a billion views in total.

When Hurwitz and Blumenfeld left

CollegeHumor they began If I Were

You, a podcast that looked to answer

listener questions in humorous ways.

The decision to start a podcast

started with one fairly practical

intention in mind: touring. As they

put it, “We just thought it would be

a cool idea to start podcasting. We

heard it was an easier way to book

touring dates so we thought if we

had a show that we could do live that

we would get to travel a bit more.”

This plan would end up being quite

successful, giving them the chance

to tour the world, as Hurwitz puts

it. “Since we started the podcast

we’ve got to go to Australia, London,

Dublin, even Boise, Idaho. The big

four,” Blumenfeld adds. “Holler at

your Boise!”

One might think a long-running

advice show would struggle to

overcome the problem of repetition.

To some extent this is true and they

do see some similar questions, but

they use their ample skills at finding

the funny to keep things different.

As they explain, “We do our best to

answer unique questions. It’s hard

to avoid. Most of the questions are

in the same vein. There’s a ton of

relationship questions because that’s

what our young fans have the most

trouble with. But if you think of all

of the things that have gone wrong

in the relationships you’ve had, they

are always pretty unique. So there’s

enough room for each question to be

unique.”

Since they started the podcast

with the intention of touring with

it, the live show takes the show to

another level. Blumenfeld notes, “It’s

the same format. But we’re feeding

off the crowd’s energy so it’s much

more performative. We ask the

audience for help with certain things,

we include them, we involve them.

Advice podcast hosts Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld are fuelled by their audience.

It’s a fun lively party atmosphere.”

It’s definitely worth checking

out live for that energy, but be sure

to check out a few episodes of the

podcast first. As Hurwitz suggests, “I

think you probably have to already

like the show to enjoy the live show,

so start with a few episodes, then

check the recorded live show. Then

come see a live show. If you like the

podcast you’ll love the live show.”

Check Out Jake and Amir: If I Were

You Live Podcast March 8 at the Vogue

Theatre and download the podcast

16

March 2018


U.S. Girls

A Revolution You Can Dance To

ALAN RANTA

Life hasn’t changed all that much for

Meg Remy since Half-Free, her 2015

album under the U.S. Girls banner,

earned a Juno Awards nomination for

‘Alternative Album of the Year’ and

landed on the shortlist for the Polaris

Music Prize. Those accolades came near

the end of the promotional cycle for

her fifth full-length, as she was putting

the finishing touches on her sixth, In

a Poem Unlimited. As such, she hasn’t

toured much since then to gauge

crowd reaction, while typical journalists

speaking to her these days think

she’s still an emerging artist, but that

ought to change with the feathers this

challenging, dynamic record will ruffle

throughout its cycle.

“I just want people to react honestly

to it,” Remy yearns. “Oftentimes, things

that people end up liking, they, at

first, have an adverse reaction to, and

then later they realize it’s stuck in their

paw. I don’t think people want things

shoved in their face, and told what to

like. Unfortunately, that’s kind of the

way the industry works; they beat a

dead horse… Labels, managers and

people like this have an equation that

they think works, based on previous

successes or whatever industry

standards. I find that frustrating and

limiting. It’s a fine line; you have to

play the game, but, for me, it’s more

important to retain integrity.”

Integrity is all over In a Poem

Unlimited. It’s part of a larger cultural

conversation. “Incidental Boogie” has

an aggressive industrial-pop sound, yet

the lyrics paint of picture of a woman

abused for so long that she becomes

accustomed to it, appreciating a man

who doesn’t leave marks when he beats

her. For men who may questions like

“why didn’t she just leave?” when they

read about sexual assault survivors,

this is the complicated answer. “Pearly

Gates” critiques St. Peter, who attempts

to use his position of power to coerce

a woman into sexual congress, basically

saying he’ll get her into heaven if

she fucks him, while “Velvet 4 Sale”

reclaims a phrase from noted wifestabber

Norman Mailer, and flips it

into a contemplation on the violent

tendencies among women, or the lack

thereof.

“Men are lucky that women aren’t

inherently violent because they’d be

dead right now,” Remy ponders. “All

the times that men are fucking with

women, if we were responding the

way men do to things… It would be a

bloodbath.”

Existing almost in contrast to the

poetically executed yet viscerally

grounded lyrics on In a Poem

Unlimited, drawn from life experiences

within and stories pertaining to the

socio-political circumstances that

made the #MeToo movement so

very necessary, there is an unblinking

dance music influence to be heard. She

acknowledges the likes of George and

Gwen McCrae, KC and the Sunshine

Band, Andrea True Connection, all the

things that weren’t disco yet influenced

by disco like Glass Candy and “I Was

Made for Loving You” by KISS, as well

as Madlib, Ghostface Killah, and all the

hip-hop that appeared on MTV in the

‘90s.

“There was definitely a purpose,

an intent with this record to make

things that could be danced to,” asserts

Remy. “I’ve never been at a concert

where there’s dancing where violence

has broken out or I’ve ever felt really

uncomfortable. Dancing is a joyous

thing. It’s fun to do in a crowd because

you are your own person dancing, so

you’re an individual, but you’re part of

a larger machine, which is the group, so

I like that it satisfies being an individual

and also realizing that you’re part of the

human race. We knew we would tour

with this record, and the state of things

right now, I think that people really

need some dance therapy. I know I do.”

U.S. Girls is, itself, something of a

larger machine. Meg Remy is clearly

the head chef in the U.S. Girls kitchen,

but she is quick to give credit to the

close circle of twenty-plus friends

who helped to cook up In a Poem

Unlimited, and make it sound like

something someone would want to

sample. Initially, she’d toyed with the

idea of having Michael Rault track the

whole record, singlehandedly. However,

after sitting in on another session, he

suggested getting eight-piece, Torontobased

galactic funk band The Cosmic

Range do it. Remy’s husband, Max

“Slim Twig” Turnbull happens to play

in The Cosmic Range, so that was a nobrainer,

though Rault would still play

bass and help arrange “Mad as Hell”

and the cover of “Time” by Micah Blue

Smaldone.

Musically and spiritually, Turnbull

supported Remy through the album

process, earning co-writing credits on

three tracks. Steve Chahley returned

in the producer’s chair, continuing his

work from Half Free and the selftitled

debut of Remy/Turnbull project

Darlene Shrugg. Louis Percival (a.k.a.

Onakabazien) figured heavily into

boom-bap of “Pearly Gates” and the

disco-infused Nine Inch Nails vibe of

“Incidental Boogie.” Simone Schmidt of

Fiver lent a hand in Remy’s rendition of

“Rage of Plastics,” and fellow Polarisnominee

Basia Bulat floats around

in the background, among other

contributors.

“I’m not really a musician’s musician,”

admits Remy. “Being in the studio and

doing all that stuff was very new for

me, and a big challenge. It helped me

develop more confidence, and realize

that just ‘cause I’m not a crazy guitar or

piano virtuoso that it doesn’t matter,

that I can be good at the things I’m

good at, and the things that I’m not, I

can ask for help.”

Helping her to translate the In a

Poem Unlimited experience to a live

setting will fulfil another of Remy’s

wishes. She’s bringing an eight-piece

ensemble on tour, including herself.

It’s a big extravaganza band, like she

dreamed of as a kid.

“I sing and do cassettes still, and

then there’s drums, two guitars, bass,

keys, saxophone and a back-up singer,”

Remy exclaims. “There’s Americans

and Canadians in the band, a good

mix of old friends and new friends.

I’ve been lucky to gather a group of

people around me that want to do this,

and we’re all on the same page. We’re

looking to go out and do a bit of a rock

and roll exorcism.”

Exorcize your dance demons with U.S. Girls

at the Biltmore Cabaret on March 25.

March 2018 17


JUNOS AWARDS 2018

ARE AWARD SHOWS

STILL RELEVANT ?

JEEVIN JOHAL

KID KOALA

MUSIC TO DRAW TO: SATELLITE TAKES THE DJ ON A SPACE ODYSSEY

JEEVIN JOHAL

Frank Ocean eschewed the importance of the Grammys. The

Oscars have been called out for lack of diversity. But what about

celebrating and recognizing great, deserving art? Shining light on

underrepresented genres? BeatRoute asked a few local artists and

members of the industry their thoughts on the topic.

KENNY COOK

LEAD SINGER/GUITARIST

ANCIIENTS

“To some people, I think. It’s not typically, most of the time,

covering the music I enjoy the most [laughs]. But, yeah, people

enjoy watching them to get hip to the newest thing, I guess. I’m

sure [our category] is one they don’t even announce, like ‘Best

Infomercial Music Award.’”

LORRAINE POND

CHILDREN’S ARTIST

BOBS AND LOLO

“Well, it’s an interesting question coming from the Kid’s Category

because, in this case, this is really our one opportunity to engage

with the music industry. So, for us, the award shows are relevant

because it’s an opportunity to be a part of the greater music

community.”

LOUISE BURNS

SINGER/SONGWRITER

“Award shows, more often than not, have been a place where the

patriarchy goes to give themselves a boozy pat on the back. I sense

a disturbance in this trend and am looking forward to seeing what

the future holds.”

ROB STEWART

MANAGING DIRECTOR

SUNA ENTERTAINMENT GROUP

“They are typically run by out-of-touch industry elites. The

entertainment industry has become a decadent, closed off, private

club where your fee for entry is assimilation into the homogenous

sounds and stories that popular culture demands. New and

exciting artists are largely ignored. In order for award shows to be

truly relevant, money, power and politics would need to be taken

out of the mix.”

18

Photo by Shimon Photo

Anciients are nominated for Metal Album Of The Year.

Eric San explores new emotional depths on the album Music to Draw to: Satellite.

It’s 1961 in New York City, and Audrey

Hepburn sits on the fire escape of her

Manhattan apartment. Clothed in

her scrubbiest attire with makeup still

miraculously flawless, she nonchalantly

strums her guitar, singing the lyrics to a song

called “Moon River.” Of course, the song and

accompanying film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s,

would both go on to be hits, and the more

refined image of Hepburn in a black dress

and pearls, holding a cigarette, would go

on to decorate the wall of every college

girl’s dorm room and tote bag from then to

eternity.

Whether you’ve seen the film or not,

the song is inescapably ingrained into pop

culture. It’s been covered, sampled, and

remixed by many, but none have given it

the hip hop justice it deserves quite like

Vancouver-born and Montreal-transplanted

DJ Kid Koala, born Eric San. “Moon River”

often makes its way into his sets, which

is unsurprising given its trance-inducing

melody and spacey lyrics, themes common

in San’s tunes. It also happens to be his

mother’s favourite song.

In 2017, San sought out to make a new

album a little outside of his wheelhouse.

Digging through piles of records, he

discovered some relics on the more ambient

and atmospheric side when he suddenly

had a lightbulb moment. San rented a club

in downtown Montreal and curated an

evening of thought-provoking instrumentals,

encouraging people to bring sketchbooks,

notepads, and whichever other inspirational

tools they required, to his newly formed

workspace.

“What was amazing to me was that even

though the room was full, nobody was

talking,” says San. “Everyone was literally in

this creative zone. You could feel it when you

looked around the room. It was contagious.”

The evenings continued for weeks,

serving as the key inspiration for his 2018

JUNO-nominated album, Music to Draw

to: Satellite. But as San was conceptualizing

ideas for the record, something peculiar

happened.

“I got a message from this lady who was

going through a really hard time because her

son had committed suicide,” he says. “One of

the things he left behind was a link to that

version of ‘Moon River’ that I did. She was

listening to it for comfort.”

San had previously recruited Icelandic

singer Emiliana Torrini to sing on some of

his songs, so the two had already formed a

bond. They begun gestating an album with

lush ambience and a galactic theme.

“Emiliana and I were talking a lot about

the story of how they were recruiting people

to go to Mars, but that there would be no

way to return,” says San.

But a continuous dialogue with the

mourning mother, whose loss was congruent

Photo by Corinne Merrell

with things happening in San’s own life,

added further emotional depth to the songs.

“A stranger is reaching out in pain, and

you’re talking to them, trying to help each

other out,” says San. “All the lyrics fit into

the concept. By nature, the idea is like, ‘Well,

there’s nothing left for me on Earth, so

clearly I have to go.’”

Kid Koala is as much a visual storyteller

as he is a DJ, touring multiple shows at a

time, and employing a number of dancers,

puppeteers, animators and creatives to

help bring his adventures to life. With the

heaviness of the world around him, Music

to Draw to: Satellite allows San to tell a story

through the veil of the character he’s been

living his entire professional career, even

adding lyric credits to his resume, penning

words for his muse.

He confesses, “I was very, very nervous. I

wrote some stuff because there was a lot of

things on my mind but because we could

speak through these characters, we unlocked

something.”

What was unlocked is Kid Koala’s most

ambitious work to date, and although on

the surface it may not sound like one of his

traditional scratch records, his signature on it

remains fresh and potent.

Kid Koala’s Music to Draw to: Satellite is

nominated for Electronic Album of the Year at

the 2018 JUNO Awards.

March 2018


THE 2018 JUNO AWARDS CELEBRATE BC MUSIC

BEATROUTE’S GUIDE ON WHERE TO GO AND WHO TO SEE

JUNOS AWARDS 2018

Vancouver’s local music scene is wonderfully diverse and inclusive, with thriving communities that

range from punk to hip-hop. As the JUNO Awards quickly approach, a handful of events, presented by

Let’s Hear It BC, are celebrating our special scene.

QueerFM

March 10 @ Red Gate

QueerFM, which airs on CiTR Radio every Tuesday, dedicates their airtime

to playing Canadian LGBTG2 artists. This showcase of music and art includes

performances by Kimmortal, Prxncxss Apprntly, and REID, as well as an art

exhibition by Berlynn Beame.

#BrokenGlass

March 11 @ the Wise Hall

#BrokenGlass represents smashing glass ceilings and celebrating diversity.

Presented by Come On, Vogue: Creative Women* in Music, this evening

features local artists like dream rockers FRANKIIE, poet and social justice

educator Rose Water, and Laydy Jams, a collective of women of colour.

BeatRoute presents BC Extreme

March 22 @ Anza Club

BeatRoute’s very own showcase of local talent reinforces the pride we feel

about being able to support our creative community every day. Come by

and enjoy a spirited night of music from Schwey, So Loki, Prado, Peach

Pyramid, and more.

Mint Records

March 22 @ Red Gate

Since its inception in 1990, the Vancouver-based record label has become

a tastemaker for local music lovers with an endlessly talented roster. The

label’s showcase features a performance by Kellarissa, project of Larissa

Loyva of Mint staples Fake Tears and the Choir Practice.

Scéne Vancouver

March 23 @ Vancity Culture Lab

Gabriel Dubreuil, Alisa Blanc, and Jazztown – amongst some of BC’s rising

Francophone talent – are featured in this presentation.

Surrey Local Indie Showcase

March 23 @ the Flamingo

Held in the newly opened Flamingo, this showcase promises a hard rocking

lineup with the likes of Aviator Shades, Redwoods, Nine O’Clock Gun, and

Joey Chaos and the Ghosts.

Photo by Christine McAvoy

JUNO Cup

15th annual charity hockey game

supports MusiCounts

This annual celebrity hockey game benefits

MusiCounts, a charity that works to safeguard

access to music education and musical

instruments for all Canadian children. The JUNO

Cup, which has Canadian music icons face off

against NHL legends, has successfully raised

more than $840,000 for the charity. 2018 marks

its 15th anniversary. Defending their 13-year

winning streak are former Vancouver Canucks

BJ MacDonald, Kyle Wellwood, Paul Reinhart,

Kirk McLean, and Dave Babych. Danielle Dube of

the Canadian National Women’s Hockey Team

also joins them on the roster. Aaron Pritchett,

Grant Lawrence (CBC/the Smugglers), Jim Cuddy

(Blue Rodeo), Nancy Mike (the Jerry Cans), and

Chuck Keeping (Big Wreck) are amongst the rock

and rollers who are lacing their skates up to the

challenge. The real winners, though? The kids,

every time.

The JUNO Cup takes place at 7:30 p.m. on March

23 at Bill Copeland Sports Centre.

• Yasmine Shemesh

March 2018 19


MUSIC

ANTIBALAS

EXAMINING THE POLITICS OF HUMAN CONNECTION

KEIR NICOLL

Where the Gods Are in Peace is the sixth full-length offering from Antibalas.

Martín Perna, founder of the gargantuan,

12-member Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, has

spent his past several months in liason between

the Vancouver Jazz Festival, Salt Spring Island, and

the snowy Appalachian Mountains. Now, on the

heels of the latest Antibalas release, Where the

Gods Are in Peace, Perna sits down with BeatRoute

for a glimpse into the group’s inspiration.

Antibalas are a political band, and have been

Photo by Michael Davis

so for 20 years. They are continuing to push for

change now just as much as they have in the past

by using their songs as catalysts to ask questions.

They aim to make change for both themselves

and the world, framing it, in terms of balance, as

analyzing the strains we put on ourselves and on

each other that weigh us down, and how we can

instead focus on taking care of ourselves.

“We need movements – mass movements – but

we need healthy people in those movements,”

says Perna. “Unhealthy individuals can’t do healthy

work. It’s a lot more nuance to frame something

and to know how to respond to it.”

The song “Gold Rush” was inspired by the gold

rushes in the States in the 1800s, noting cycles in

history, where people are steamrolled for resource

exploitation. It still happens now: “Fracking, in

Pennsylvania, or actual gold and minerals and

uranium, that’s happening in the west,” Perna

says. “They’ll bring in paramilitary to wipe out an

entire tribe. Or they’ll have treaties with Natives

in B.C. We’re trying to keep what we’re thinking

about, what’s in front of us, connected to these

global things that are disconnected from us

chronologically and happening in other parts of

the world.”

The legacy of famed Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti

lives on in the music of Antibalas. Speaking to this,

Perna states, “I think with jazz, the spirit of Louis

Armstrong lives on in the music. If you’re not just

quoting him, in some ‘70s soul jazz music, his DNA

actually lives on in the music. It was more topdown

in the past, and there wasn’t as much room

for people. Now, in Antibalas, there’s all kinds of

room for that, all sorts of people who write and

solo.”

There were others, Kuti’s contemporaries, who

weren’t as well-known but who still influenced the

context of the music – the Funkees, for example,

whose psychedelic rock sounds can be heard in

“Gold Rush,” with its fuzzed out and overdriven

guitars.

Speaking to the next project underway for

Antibalas, Perna mentions that it is about women

and mothers and taking this idea of balance a step

further, to ask the question of what humanity

needs.

“The root of our imbalance is the fracture

between men and women keeping us from

working together,” he says. “It happens on every

level. We recorded a song called ‘Sister’ that was

about calling us out, how we’re dudes and kind

of imperfect and shying away from feminist ideals

and reflecting on that. This next album is going

to be about the ways these things are off. The

earth is falling apart, and more often than not, it’s

men making these decisions. What lessons did we

learn?”

At their live show, Antibalas plays Where

the Gods Are in Peace in its entirety, as well as

old favourites they’ve been playing since the

beginning. It will be full-on.

Antibalas perform March 18 at the Biltmore

Cabaret.

20

March 2018


ACTORS

VERSATILE POST-PUNKERS PULL OUT ALL THE STOPS

MAT WILKINS

ALVVAYS

LEARNING TO STEP BACK, REASSESS AND REFINE

JORDAN YEAGER

MUSIC

To write about a band these days is to do one of

many things: to point out their prowess in the art

of the throwback, compliment the genre-defying

uniqueness of their cutting-edge sound, speak to

their strengths as performers and instrumentalists...

the list goes on. Yet what about when an act

comes along that seems to check all those boxes

in their own unique way? Our vocabularies of

praise somehow shrink dramatically and suddenly,

“They’re just a great band,” becomes the operative

– and often most repeated – phrase.

Enter ACTORS, Jason Corbett’s post-punk

project hailing from BeatRoute’s backyard, the

lovely Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood.

“People who are the most honest about what

they’re doing, and for what reasons, the general

public can read it, maybe even on a subconscious

level,” Corbett says when asked about how he

arrived at ACTORS’ signature sound.

In the throes of a band breakup, Corbett began

writing and releasing singles under the name

ACTORS with no particular goal in mind, tired of

pursuing the relative fame and fortune that bands

so often strive for.

“What I found was over the years, somehow, [the

band] just kept collecting steam.” So much steam,

in fact, that they are now signed to Toronto-based

Artoffact Records and set to release their first

full-length album on March 9. In fact, Corbett has

been able to quit his day job. “I used to manage

restaurants for almost 20 years. And I got so busy

as a producer [that] I could finally make the leap

over to doing music full time.”

Photo by Kira Clavell

ACTORS are set to break out with the release of their first full length, It Will Come To You.

The two teaser tracks from It Will Come to You,

“L’appel Du Vide” and “Slaves,” are a testament

to what life as a full-time musician can do for

an artist’s craft. The record itself is delightfully

polished, breathing a special kind of life into the

typically lo-fi repertoire of contemporary postpunk

and new wave. The songs are anthemic,

nostalgic, and defiant, possessing a modern,

stadium-filling vitality that makes you want to

drive a DeLorean through dusky city streets.

The new record was finally given its name during

a discussion in the car after rehearsal over what to

call it. “I’m sure it will come to you,” synth player

Shannon Hemmett had said casually, most likely

half paying attention, perhaps drawing cartoons

in the fog on the car window. But it didn’t matter,

Corbett had made up his mind right then and

there.

It Will Come to You was recorded at Corbett’s

own Jacknife Studios, the birthplace of records

from several Vancouver heavyweights including

Gang Signs, Art Deco, and Mesa Luna.

“I’m really busy producing, mixing, and recording

other artists there, so it’s a perfect opportunity to

work on my stuff as well,” says Corbett.

ACTORS is a true renaissance band, with a

unique but quasi-revivalist sound, a passionate, DIY

approach to music-making, and an incredible stage

presence. They have been and will remain a force

to be reckoned with all over the city and beyond.

They really, truly are just great.

ACTORS play the Rickshaw Theatre March 10.

The monotony of a Canadian winter can

be exhausting. Dreariness lingers seemingperpetually,

interrupted only by brief months

of sunlit respite. So what is there to do? For

Molly Rankin, Kerri MacLellan, Alec O’Hanley,

Sheridan Riley, and Brian Murphy, the answer

was simple — make music. The five bandmates

have done just that and are now touring the

fruits of their labours from their sophomore

offering, Antisocialites.

With Scottish roots running deep through

their Nova Scotian foundation, music has long

been a part of their lives; Rankin’s family even

has a band, The Rankin Family, which has won

several awards, including six JUNOs.

“Growing up around Celtic music is a pretty

common thing when you live in Cape Breton,”

says Rankin. “I think it’s mostly used to pass the

time during winter when things get a little bit

bleak.”

Alvvays is decidedly pop-centric, with heavy

synths and catchy melodies laced throughout

dreamy vocals. If you listen carefully, you

might hear “a little bit of fiddle personality”

within Rankin’s guitar style, hinting back to

her formative years in the industry, but for

the most part, Antisocialites doesn’t stray far

from the precedent set by their debut album.

If anything, it’s heavier-hitting and more lively,

which is perfect for a band who’s about to keep

the party going with their sophomore outing.

Life in Nova Scotia surrounded by the ocean,

trees, and rolling hills can’t be all bad, especially

when seeking inspiration for lyrics that enable

listeners to see the scenes set by your words. “I

can be a little bit observational with my lyrics,”

says Rankin. “I’m inspired by space and weather

and distance and being alone. I like to paint

imagery, and it’s easier to be descriptive when

you’re talking about, you know, the sunset or

the trees or the ocean.”

For someone whose muse is sparked

by solitude, Rankin indulges in alone time

seldomly. The band’s first album, the self-titled

Alvvays, was released in July 2014, and the

group has yet to stop touring in the interim.

“After we put out our first record, I didn’t

have a lot of time to be alone to write, and

that’s usually when I think of ideas,” she says.

“It’s good to be active and playing shows, even

though playing music is such a miniscule part

of being in a band.”

And though sweet seclusion might be

Rankin’s first solace for songwriting, she and

her band members don’t tire of one another,

even after years straight of their presence.

Rankin stresses that they’re “all really close

friends” and “still hang out a few times a week,

even when [they’re] not playing.”

While Rankin and MacLellan grew up

making music together throughout childhood

and adolescence, they didn’t expect to pursue

it into adulthood. Rankin had always been

surrounded by music-makers, watching

the time, dedication, and labour her family

members poured into their Celtic group, and

didn’t think the lifestyle fit.

“Witnessing a lot of the hard work and

continuous work of what it was like for my

father to be in a band, I didn’t think I would

follow this path at all,” she laughs. “I just sort of

fell into it, and then I pursued it once I realized

that it was fulfilling to me, that has always been

there and I feel like maybe I was ignoring it.”

Alvvays play the Capital Ballroom (Victoria)

on April 3 and the Commodore Ballroom

(Vancouver) on April 4.

Canadian pop group Alvvays have never had trouble socializing when on the road.

March 2018 21


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MUSIC

JOSHUA HYSLOP

EMBRACING THE ECHOES OF EMPATHY AND ACCEPTANCE

JESS MACKIE

Joshua Hyslop remains a humble voice in music following the release of Echoes.

Fresh off a European tour, singer-songwriter

Joshua Hyslop is riding on a train from

Amsterdam to Brussels, making the journey back

to his home in Vancouver. He won’t be home

long though. Hyslop’s newest album, Echoes,

which he released last month via Nettwerk

Music Group, comes with an intense touring

schedule and will draw him away for much

of the rest of the year, leaving behind his wife

and friends and the mountains that inspire his

writing.

Since Hyslop gained recognition in 2012 with

ALEX MAHER

SOARING THROUGH THE AETHER

ADESUWA OKOYOMON

Last year, Vancouver multi-instrumentalist and

singer-songwriter Alex Maher gave us Aether,

an album that is “a statement of perseverance”

and explores his journey “out of a period of great

darkness after the loss of a friend… struggling

against depression and drug addiction and coming

out in one piece.” Maher, who describes his sound

as a “quiet storm,” started playing the saxophone,

guitar, and drums, in the sixth grade. When he

turned 16, he started playing gigs and recalls that

“exposure to all this music that was happening was

hugely formative.”

Aether, like much of Maher’s music, is an

impressive blend of soul, R&B, and funk. He says

that the tracks “Submarine” and “The Light” are

two songs that speak to the essence of Aether. The

EP is about “surfacing from obscurity and darkness,

travelling a dark path, but seeing a brighter path

ahead and wanting that for yourself,” and the songs

are as soulful as they are sincere.

While Maher started out writing “songs that

were a reflection of what [he] was going through,”

his recent work “is about relationships and world

observations: addressing something important, but

Photo by Jesse Milns

his debut, Where the Mountain Meets the Valley,

Spotify has featured his songs on playlists like

‘Acoustic Chill’ and ‘Folk & Friends’ but he’d

prefer to not classify his music.

“I don’t want to be pigeonholed as one very

specific thing. ‘Singer-songwriter’ is already

enough of a pigeonhole,” he says with a laugh.

Hyslop, like his music, is earnest and

plainspoken. Who he is and what he does—“me

and a guitar and I write songs”—conveys more

than his skilful musicianship. It also extends to

his outlook on life. With Echoes, he hopes the

dressing it up nicely, because it’s hard to not seem

preachy when you’re writing about world issues.”

Maher is hoping to release another EP within

the next year and has already cut vocals for one

song. He has met with some young filmmakers for

possible music videos for songs off of the next EP

and is looking forward to more opportunities to

play with his band featuring Mary Ancheta (keys),

Alex Maher embraces the rise from obscurity and darkness.

album “encourages people to be more empathic

and not just write people off.”

His appeal is in the way he presents himself.

You can imagine he’s approachable at shows,

a little self-deprecating, an eager listener

just waiting to laugh or to share in some

commonality.

Although he wrote the songs on Echoes for

people he’s known most of his life, he prefers to

keep his music career private.

“I don’t really talk about how things are going

with friends and family. I try to keep that part

separate as much as possible.”

His warm, broken-in sound speaks for him.

His considered lyrics exude sincerity and that, as

much as his voice, has given Hyslop his following.

People respond to that. It is to his credit that

he doesn’t present himself as anything but hard

working, talented and, he concedes, incredibly

lucky.

“I’ve been very fortunate in that a lot of what

I’ve put out has happened to resonate with

people,” Hyslop says.

His humility is not contrived. But it does belie

his talent. Despite being backed by a record label

and adored by fans the world over, Hyslop still

questions whether his success as a songwriter has

been a fluke.

“I have no idea where [my songs] come from.

Every time I finish one I always think it’s the last

one I’ll ever write,” he says with a pause. “And

then I hope I’m wrong.”

Echos is available now via Nettwerk Music Group.

Benjamin Parker (guitar), Darren Parris (bass),

Johnny Andrews (drums), and Jess Vaira (backing

vocals).

Above all, Maher hopes his songs “allow people

to see a reflection of a situation and feel better.

Music, even if it’s sad, can make you feel better.”

Alex Maher plays Guilt & Company on March 9.

Photo by Samanntha Rozon

March 2018


MINISTRY

COMMENTING ON THE WEAPONIZATION OF SOCIETY AND THE NEED FOR SYSTEMATIC CHANGE

JOHNNY PAPAN

Always explosive, Ministry drops another bomb on the industry with AmeriKKKant.

“The easiest way to rule somebody is to divide

and conquer the populous by fear. Turn society

one against the other. That’s part of the old fascist

playbook, it’s the very first thing you do. You sign

onto the free press, you divide and conquer. Now

it’s being weaponized by the internet.”

AmeriKKKant is the fourteenth studio record

to be released by industrial-metal outfit Ministry.

This album is an audio articulation of aggression

felt by many working-class people around the

world. Its distorted sound frequencies, pounding

bass and in-your-face, guttural vocals scream an

atmosphere of internalized dread and frustration.

It’s a social comment on the world we live in and

the greed, idiocy, and fascism displayed by many

of its political leaders. The album’s opening track

“I Know Words” features warped sound bites of

the current President of the United States, who

many would consider the official mascot of today’s

planetary political fuckery.

“It’s become one of those moments like: ‘Where

were you when Kennedy got shot? Where were

you when man landed on the moon? Where were

you when Trump got elected?” explains frontman

Al Jourgensen, who served as songwriter and

Photo by Phil Parmet

producer of his band’s new album. “I went to bed

at around six o’clock that night [when Trump

was elected] because I knew that he was going to

win. I could see the way things were going. It’s not

just Trump, it’s society as a whole. If you look at

Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands, the Philippines,

I could see how the world is trending. His

inauguration is when I thought, ‘You know what?

I’m gonna make a fuckin’ album about this. Man,

this is some fucked up shit going on around here.’”

AmeriKKKant’s artwork features the iconic

Statue of Liberty, a symbol meant to represent

American freedom, using her hand to cover

her face in embarrassment as fighter jets fly

over a smouldering New York City. Although

AmeriKKKant’s text is in white, the three K’s,

signifying the Ku Klux Klan white supremacy

group, is highlighted in red, the colour sported by

the Republican political party Trump leads. The

Statue’s tabula ansata, which in reality has the date

of the U.S. Declaration of Independence inscribed

in it, emits smoke from a fresh bullet-hole.

“Trump was my muse, but this album is not

about him,” Jourgensen claims. “Trump is just

an indicator of what’s going on, he’s sounding

the alarm. We have much bigger problems than

Trump, but he’s symbolic of the systematic

problem that we have.” He continues: “This album

is more about getting towards systematic change;

it goes a little bit deeper than just a bunch of

Trump sound bites, but he’s the perfect person to

represent how society is going right now.”

Titles of tracks on the album confirm

Jourgensen’s musings. Songs like “Victims of

a Clown,” “Wargasm,” “We’re Tired of It,” and

“Twilight Zone” indicate that Jourgensen feels he’s

living in an episode of that very mind-bending

1960s anthology series. The record’s first single,

“Antifa,” inspired by the extremist anti-fascism

movement, has stirred a slew of controversy.

“The Antifa movement needs to be explained

to North Americans because we’ve never had an

overtly fascist ruler like we have now,” he says.

“Antifa is short for anti-fascist. In 1930s Europe,

it became really prevalent against the [Francisco]

Franco regime in Spain. Against Mussolini in Italy.

Against Hitler.”

Controversy draws from Antifa’s motto, which

is to oppose fascism through direct action. The

conglomeration has embarked on militant protest

tactics which often include property damage and

physical violence. Though Jourgensen supports the

group’s ideologies in standing up for themselves,

he thinks their fight fire with fire approach is the

wrong way to go about getting their message

across.

“The problem [with Antifa] is a lot of the tactics

that they use are the same things they’re rallying

against: ‘If you see a skinhead on the street, beat

him up,’”says Jourgensen. “Don’t beat him up, talk

to him. I’m not for or against the group, but I am

very against fascism and I am for people standing

up for their own individual rights.”

The touchiness behind the song and music

video has resulted in some online backlash.

“Of course there’s going to be a lot of negative

pushback,” he says. “A lot of that comes from

robot trolls. They just want to stir the pot and

keep people mad at each other, and it’s ridiculous.

The internet started out as a phenomenal concept.

What was once called ‘the Age of Information’

has now become the age of disinformation. What

started out as a knowledge building facility has

been destroyed. People are more concerned about

how many likes they got on sharing a YouTube

video of cats playing piano than they are of the

system taking away their pension, their health care,

or putting a nuclear waste dump on where they

live. [The internet] has been weaponized and used

by governments for their own agendas to keep

people in their place while they make profits.”

At this time, the dynamic of American politics

remains unclear. With Trump’s win, some

celebrities including Kanye West and Dwayne “The

Rock” Johnson have stated their interest in running

for president, bringing up the question of whether

or not government is on the verge of becoming

nothing but a popularity contest for the rich and

famous.

“All of these celebrities are really uneducated on

the grey issues of world politics and the subtleties

of ruling,” Jourgensen says. “Nothing is black

and white, and to have these people running, it

trivializes everything. What is politics now? Oprah,

Kanye, Trump: it’s all the same. I’m sure they all

have different opinions and everything, but they’re

not suited for doing anything about this. I don’t

think celebrities should run for office, but I do

think they should have a voice, just like an auto

worker in Flint, Michigan should have a voice. I

think politics have been trivialized to where we

don’t even believe in it. We have nothing that we

believe in anymore.”

“We need to make systematic change,”

Jourgensen concludes. “I think a lot of that starts in

individual self and cosmic awareness. I don’t mean

to get all hippy on you but they can change all the

institutions they want. People need to start really

thinking deeper; in other words, the human race

has to start playing chess instead of checkers.”

Ministry performs at the Vogue Theatre (Vancouver)

on March 29.

March 2018 23


BPM

SEASONS FEST

SHOWING LOVE FOR THE DIVERSE UNDERGROUND ELECTRONIC MUSIC SCENE

PRACHI KAMBLE

Vancouver has been treated to an electronic music

extravaganza every spring since 2011 in the form of

Seasons Festival. Returning with another star-studded lineup,

the festival has mixed up its five-day programming and

it is fire. Genre-wise, we’ll see a lot of underground vibes

in house, techno, and hip-hop, even some jazz and indie.

We will get to experience the sounds of North American

destinations like Miami, Mississippi, Chicago, Brooklyn,

Los Angeles and Toronto, as well as those of international

artists from Australia to France, alongside a large volume

of Vancouver talent from the local electronic music

community.

As per usual, the Saturday and Sunday shows will bring

the heat with a non-stop party at the Pacific Coliseum,

while venues like Vogue, Venue, MIA, Celebrities, and

Fortune will host more intimate shows. Here are some of

the acts we don’t think you can go wrong with if you’re

feeling spoiled for choice:

Giraffage

Over the past few years, San Francisco’s Charlie Yin has grown a steady following with

dreamy remixes of mainstream chart toppers. Yin dropped a full-length debut album in

fall of 2017, so we’ll get to hear lots of original music from him. He works frequently with

Manila Killa, who is also on the line-up, as well as Porter Robinson and Odesza, so expect

similar influences.

Yaeji

Hailing from Brooklyn, this exciting electronic artist mixes house music with hip-hop,

and English and Korean vocals. Her music is light, uplifting, thoughtful, and dripping

with sophistication. She has also done a Boiler Room set, which techno and house

music lovers consider to be the Holy Grail of gigs.

Rae Sremmurd

The infectious “No Type” and “No Flex Zone” made Mississippi brothers, Slim Jxmmi

and Swae Lee, favourites among hip-hop fans. Their signature, slowed down but potent

trap style, ushered in low tempo rap that leans toward R&B and dancehall. The duo has

appeared on tracks with Gucci Mane, Nicki Minaj, Ty Dolla Sign and many more, so they

will be cranking out a stream of hits.

Petit Biscuit

“Sunset Lover” was the breakout summer hit of 2017. Specialising in pretty tropical house

and indie-flavoured electronic music, French music producer, Mehdi Benjelloun, will no

doubt supply the sweeter melodies.

CLUBLAND

LIVE DANGEROUSLY

ALAN RANTA

People are too concerned with safety. Playgrounds were better when they

consisted of little more than surplus military training rigs and a child’s limitless

imagination. They were more dangerous, no doubt, but scars and broken bones

build character. You often learn more from your mistakes than you do from

your successes. Of course, one should maintain awareness, but don’t cave to

the pressure to play it safe all the time, especially when it comes to music. Take

a chance on something you’ve never heard before. Live dangerously, experience

and grow.

J.I.D. & EarthGang

Mar. 10 @ Fortune

Dip into some surprising Atlanta flavors with this bottom-dropping doubleheadliner.

The hip-hop/neo-soul duo of Johnny “Olu O. Fann” Venus and Doctur

“Eian Undrai Parker” Dot (a.k.a. Earthgang) and cerebral rapper J.I.D. came up as

part of the Spillage Village collective, and both subsequently signed with J.Cole’s

Dreamville Records. Though it may be called the Never Had Sh!t tour, but the shit

is what they have.

Stelios Vassiloudis

Mar. 10 @ Open Studios

A mainstay on John Digweed’s renowned Bedrock Records since he released his

debut album, It Is What It Is, back in 2011, this Grecian DJ will house you smooth

with intricately textured main stage ambiance or stomp the crap out of the dance

floor with hard-hitting techno. Either way, you’re gonna feel something cathartic.

Ella Vos

Mar. 22 @ Fortune

Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Ella Vos is deep on that electro-pop tip. Her

voice is as sweetly soulful and humbly uplifting as Sia, while her instrumentals

typically glitter a mix of acoustic sounds such as guitar and/or piano with

programmed percussion flourished by trap-like skitters and driving synthetic

beats, perfectly cradling her delicate vocal melodies. She’ll hit you in the feels.

Epic Beard Men

Mar. 27 @ Venue

Providence wordsmiths B. Dolan and Strange Famous boss Sage Francis may

never get the recognition they deserve as two of hip-hop’s all-time greats, but

that failure is entirely on the music media. No one consistently constructs more

meaningful and honest flows than Francis, while Dolan is the most visceral

storyteller this side of Tom Waits. They are both masters of their craft, and

fiercely independent. Put their bushy beards together, and it’s epic, man.

Chinese Man

Mar. 31 @ VENUE

Don’t let the name fool you. Chinese Man is actually a French trip-hop collective,

with the production core of Marseille Zé Mateo, High Ku and SLY often

augmented by various other beatsmiths and rappers. Their latest record, 2017’s

kaleidoscopic SHIKANTAZA, is touted as a “path to enlightenment.” Believe it.

Baths

These Los Angeles producers make music that soothes

and heals. “Sounds like clicking pens and running water”

won us over from the get go and listening to a few of their

tracks validates this mystical claim made on the Seasons

website.

Zhu

The elusive enigma wrapped in a riddle and master of

deep house will emerge from the shadows for Seasons,

and we’re excited to finally see him. Ever since the dark

and brooding “Faded” hit the charts, the electronic

community hasn’t been able to get enough of the music

producer. With an EP that features A-Trak, Bone Thugs

N Harmony, Aluna George, and Skrillex, Zhu rolls with

electronic royalty and is guaranteed to put on a highquality

show on par with his peers.

So Loki

Sam Lucia and Geoffrey Millar have made Vancouver

proud with their boundary pushing, experimental, rap

slash electronica. They’ve been featured in Complex,

Noisey and the CBC, and just released an album in the fall.

Catch them now before they get too big!

Smokepurpp

The Miami rapper went viral with “Audi” in 2017, and he

has been on trend ever since. Expect hardcore, heavy trap.

Epic Beard Men

24

March 2018


BPM

CHROMEO

MONTREAL DUO KEEP FALLING HEAD OVER HEELS FOR FUNK

JOHNNY PAPAN

Photo by Tim Saccenti

Chromeo set their sights on diversity with a new album on the horizon.

Chromeo are an electro-funk duo from Montreal, Quebec.

Formed in 2002 by childhood friends Dave 1 and P-Thugg,

the widely-renowned Funklordz grooved their way to fame

after the release of their sophomore album Fancy Footwork,

which was nominated for a JUNO in 2008. A decade later, the

inseparable pair are set to drop their fifth record, Head Over

Heels, this May.

“It’s our most collaborative and funk-centric album to

date,” explains Dave 1, born David Macklovitch, the singer

and guitarist of the group. “It has the most muscular, conceptdriven

songwriting. At the same time, we hear other voices and

other musicians. In a way, it’s doubling down on the funk thing

but also expanding the collaboration thing.”

The album’s collaborators include an eclectic mix of modern

day pop artists as well as some admired stars from the era of

1970s funk. Guest musicians include Jesse Johnson, guitarist

of the Time, as well as Pino Palladino, who has offered bass

duties for artists such as D’Angelo, John Mayer, Elton John, and

the Who. Modern day stars who appear on the album include

D.R.A.M., French Montana, and the-Dream.

“It’s so weird to have a mix of newer artists on these songs

as well as old school ‘70s and ‘80s artists with us trying to be at

the nexus of all that,” he says.

Lyrically, Chromeo is known for complementing their

electro-grooves with dialogues of love, sex, and relationships.

They continue to explore these concepts on Head Over Heels,

although Macklovitch confirms a mature evolution of their

written words.

“Every song really has a purpose and a message and an idea,”

Macklovitch states. “We always wanted to write about love and

relationships but from a different angle than what you would

hear in most music. We kinda wanted to write it from more of

an anti-hero, kind of love-torn, schmucky, insecure, conflicted

angle. A neurotic stance. We’re the neurotic romantics, you

know? There are songs that express regret, there are songs

about flirting, there are songs of admiration and adoration, like

‘Juice.’ There are songs about adulterous relationships. We’re

just trying to paint a whole picture.”

On the subject of romance, Macklovitch confirms that the

record also avoids lyrical storytelling clichés, most notably

the man chasing the woman scenario. This time, the group

opted for an openness in gender and orientation relationship

diversity.

“I think what we’re trying to do with this album is that we

don’t want it necessarily to be about men and ladies. We don’t

want it to be that heteronormative,” Macklovitch concludes.

“That’s why we’re shaving our legs and wearing heels on the

album cover. Relationships can go so many different ways and

we want to focus on diversity instead of just a song that is like a

man talking to a woman and trying to seduce her into sleeping

with him. I just feel like there’s so much more to a relationship

than that.”

Chromeo plays the Commodore Ballroom on April 9.

March 2018 25


BPM

CUT CHEMIST

NOT GOING TO REPEAT HIMSELF

JEEVIN JOHAL

It was the early ‘70s, in the Bronx district of

New York City, and the kids were hungry for

a new sound. On one infamous night, a DJ

known as Kool Herc opted to try something

crazy. He took the drum break parts of old

funk and disco records and juggled the beats

between two separate turntables, while his

confidant Coke La Rock played hype man,

wiling out on a mic. The shit was wild.

“To use pre-existing music was embedded

in hip hop’s roots,” explains Lukas

MacFadden, better known as Cut Chemist.

Best known for his work with Jurassic 5,

Ozomatli and DJ Shadow, MacFadden came

up through the Los Angeles hip-hop scene

in the ‘90s. The Los Angeles DJ’s cut-andpaste

style of snipping beats and samples,

and pasting them together with so much

duct tape and Elmer’s Glue put him on the

hip-hop map, becoming a staple of the genre

as one of the most recognizable turntablist

beatsmiths in the world.

On Die Cut, his first solo record in 12 years

going back to 2006’s stellar The Audience’s

Listening, MacFadden once again emerges

from the shadows to give genesis to a new

saga of collaboration, featuring the likes of

DNTEL, Biz Markie, and Parenthood actress

Erika Christensen.

“I think I was just living such an isolated

lifestyle at that moment in time that I

needed some interaction, and to be a part

SON LUX

A HAPPY ACCIDENT

SEPEHR RASHIDI

Ryan Lott shines a light on Brighter Wounds.

The way Son Lux’s Ryan Lott talks over the

phone is much like his music: brainy without

being pretentious, and peppered with super

dense and memorable one-liners. In speaking

with BeatRoute, the LA-based composer and

singer opened up about his project, now a

trio with drummer Ian Chang and guitarist

Rafiq Bhatia. Currently well into a world tour

supporting their fifth studio album, Brighter

26

Lukas McFadden makes a fresh start with his first solo record in 12 years.

of something bigger than myself,” confesses

Macfadden. “I think I missed it to be quite

honest.”

Annihilation of the old, and rebuilding

anew is a constant theme throughout Die

Cut, one that, to MacFadden’s surprise,

was a natural conception while making the

record. The studio sessions generated a sort

of telepathic energy between the director and

his muses, as he experimented with a variety

of musicians, singers and dope as fuck MCs.

“Listening to the record now I realize that

there is a common theme of destruction of

the mind, and manipulation of the mind,”

reveals MacFadden. “All of these things are

loosely interpreted through every song, even

though these people never talk to each other.

Wounds, Son Lux began as a happy accident.

“I started creating little sound worlds

between compositions and had this desire

to see if I could create pop music from these

song worlds,” Lott laughs. “Before I knew it I

was halfway through a record I didn’t intend

to make.”

The project burst into international ears

with the song “Easy,” later sampled by Halsey

and G-Eazy. The success of this opened up

international markets for touring and made

them even more inspired to create.

“We are excited about moving to unknown

places,” Lott exclaims. “There’s no place on

the horizon we’re aiming for… Imagine a

lottery scratch map... we’re scratching off bitby-bit

of it ‘til we’re happy and surprised with

it. It’s hard to distill the sound into a quaint

phrase... ultimately, now we are making pop

music. We’re doing it with minds that are

open to all sounds and all music. The goal

ultimately is to make music that is human

and soulful, finding spaces that are mysterious

and exciting for us.”

With isolation still playing a big role, Lott

isn’t sure if the creative process for Son Lux

has changed since it became a trio, but his

Photo by Joseph Armario

It’s like that record the universe brings you

randomly in a record store. The universe did

me a solid.”

Throughout his career, the universe has

brought a legion of music MacFadden’s way,

chronicling a multitude of genres and obscure

sounds. Die Cut is both a departure and

return for MacFadden, brazing old territories

with new opportunities and alliances.

“I felt like I wanted to write songs more

than sample, and cut-and-paste them

together from old songs,” says MacFadden. “I

think the main thing is I never like to repeat

myself.”

Cut Chemist plays the Cobalt on March 10th.

approach to songwriting has been more

autobiographical on Brighter Wounds than

ever before.

“The way I hear them, at least, is pretty

directly connected to my own experiences,”

Lott admits. “In the past, I’ve aimed for an

intersection for universal sentiments, [but

it’s] still important that it still feels like an

open book. I don’t think of myself as a story

teller. I like the idea of catalyzing memories or

creating prompts. I don’t ever tell stories.”

Although they already have some finished

music they’re looking forward to releasing

soon, as far as next steps for Son Lux, the

future may hold a small break for the project.

“We’re gonna spend a good amount

of time touring this record, going on and

off the road. Ian has his own EP out called

Spiritual Leader, and his solo project has

been taking him out in the road and studio.

Rafiq announced his record is coming out in

April on ANTI-, that project will take him on

the road as well. I have my own pursuits as

well. I’m going to be working on ballet and

different commissions.”

Son Lux plays the Fox Cabaret on March 14th.

NILS FRAHM

EXPLORING AND IGNORING THE CONSTRAINTS OF GENRE

MAT WILKINS

Nils Frahm’s latest record for Erased Tapes, All Melody is

constructed exactly as the name implies. From minimal trance

beats to solo piano tunes, no sonic stone has been left unturned

on this versatile —yet delightfully cohesive— project.

In this ‘band as a brand’ world where sound, aesthetic, genre,

and style are paramount, Frahm’s creations are no small feat.

Holed up at the famous Funkhaus Studio on the banks of Berlin’s

Spree River, Frahm credits a large part of the album’s success to

his self-imposed isolation. He spent so much time in Funkhaus’

Saal-3 studio that he occasionally slept there, away from the

hustle and bustle of life as a wildly successful contemporary

composer.

“[Touring] makes you a little bit dumb in the long run,

because you’re basically always recovering from some jetlag,

party, concert,” explains Frahm. “It never really feels like you’re

really doing something to feed your brain.”

Throughout his 13-year career, Frahm’s music has always been

hard to pin down thematically. Often described by confused

critics as neoclassical, ambient, electronic, and more, each

release eludes classification through cleverly blurring the lines

between classical and electronic. He, himself, defines it simply as

“instrumental.”

All Melody begins with “The Whole Universe Wants to Be

Touched,” as its haunting chorus of voices spin a wordless

melody out over a low, otherworldly organ. The track then melts

into a foreboding ambience that blends seamlessly into “Sunson,”

a considered but club-ready tune with the type of kick drum

that makes even the particularly stationary want to get up and

groove. “My Friend the Forest,” dramatically changes the pace

mid-album, as Frahm’s signature mic technique layers the sound

of clicking piano keys, the rustling of clothes, and the occasional

breath over solo piano. But don’t be quick to attribute this sort

of tonal freneticism to mere coincidence; all of the tracks on the

record were included deliberately, whittled down from 60 rough

songs to only 12.

“We can all be humble and stubborn and just do the things

we want to do… without any yelling or crying for attention,”

Frahm says over the phone. “I want to state with my music that

all of this is absolutely possible.”

Frahm takes great pride in his genre-defying work, free

from the constraints of an occasionally stifling music industry.

Ironically, All Melody came in at #2 on Billboard’s classical

albums top 25 for 2 consecutive weeks.

With an insightful, matter-of-fact approach to creating, Frahm

has not only honed his skills as one of the most accomplished

and unique composers in the world, but has also garnered a

considerable group of loyal fans, who will be delighted to hear

that the post-album tour is well on its way.

“I think it’s the best show I’ve ever produced.”

Nils Frahm plays at the Vogue Theatre on April 1st.

Embracing isolation, Nils Frahm is All Melody.

Photo by Alexander Schneider

March 2018


BPM

ATMOSPHERE

SELF-REFLECTION BREEDS LONGEVITY IN A YOUNG MAN’S GAME

GRAEME WIGGINS

Minneapolis hip-hop duo Atmosphere intend to paint the country gold on their upcoming tour.

Slug thinks he’s going to get fired. The Minnesota rapper, one half

of the group Atmosphere, has had a career that most would find

envious. Nearing thirty years rapping and nearly a dozen albums in

what’s often thought of as a young man’s game, Slug is worried it will

all go away.

“We had no idea this would go as far as it did,” he explains. “There’s

this weird feeling that you’re going to get fired. I used to have that

feeling back when I had jobs. Even though I had a great work ethic

and did more than was expected of me because I had pride. So

it’s ridiculous to think that I’m going to get fired. It’s in my DNA. I

Photo by Dan Monick

co-own a record label, I co-own a music festival, I own a touring

and merchandizing company and I’m scared someone is going to

come take it away from me. I have real estate. It reminds me to log in

everyday and work on my craft.”

This motivation, with a healthy dose of self-reflection that’s often

mirrored in his music, has allowed him to grow and change while

staying true to his own vision. He’s moved from the earnest, hearton-the-sleeve

personal writing of his earlier work to a weathered

storyteller, who’s point of view and philosophy comes out through

slice of life stories. “It wasn’t until Lemons. When I was making

(When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold) I had

become aware of some of the hazards of keeping things a little too

real. I had people who were coming to me and telling me I had hurt

them through my writing. And I realized I shouldn’t have the agency

to embarrass another person or hurt another person in my city just

because I’m trying to write a song. So with Lemons I was shedding

that type of rapping and going more into trying to only write from

my own perspective, The only person that I’m allowed to hurt with

my writing is myself and with that I was writing more fiction and

obviously using my perspective to write who these characters are.”

Even in the earlier albums, stories were a significant part of Slug’s

writing. This comes from his early inspirations. He explains, “I was

taught that by rappers, when I was a kid my favourite rappers told

stories. Slick Rick, he told stories. Very problematic stories but at

the time we didn’t realize how problematic they were. Dana Dane.

Some of my favourite rappers were these guys who were super cool

guys but also would tell stories that would show the flaw in being

the super cool guy. Dana Dane and Slick Rick both specifically were

a huge impact on my writing, or my rapping I should say, because I

hate to refer to it as my writing, because I really liked that they were

super cool and put up the image of a super cool guy but here and

there they were actually just dorks acting cool and I related to that.”

Taking these stories on the road on a Canadian tour might seem

like a weird idea in the dead of winter, but Slug balks at that concern:

“The dead of winter would be January; we’re coming in March which

is the end of winter, which is actually a great time to come to Canada.

When people are so sick of the winter they’re looking for any excuse

to go out and have a good time.”

Atmosphere performs March 5 at the Commodore Ballroom

(Vancouver) and March 6 at the Capital Ballroom (Victoria).

March 2018 27


FILM

BADSVILLE

A CONVERSATION WITH DIRECTOR APRIL MULLEN

HOGAN SHORT

April Mullen’s latest feature, Badsville, was a collaborative labour of love.

April Mullen is an actor, producer

and director with a talent of finding

interesting and unique stories to

tell. I first interviewed April for her

sexually raw film, Below Her Mouth,

about two woman falling in love.

Since then she has directed episodes

for D.C.s Legends of Tomorrow,

Wynona Earp and Killjoys. Her latest

feature film, Badsville, is a greaser

RED SPARROW

SPY THRILLER TWISTS, TURNS AND SOARS

BRENDAN LEE

28

gang movie about one man’s struggle

to stay alive long enough to leave.

It’s an unflinching look at violence

and unfortunate circumstance but is

grounded by explored characters and

their emotional journeys.

Badsville is getting great reviews

and even won Mullen the Best

Director award at the prestigious

Canadian Film Awards. Mullen spoke

Jennifer Lawrence hypnotizes as a badass spy in Red Sparrow.

to us about what winning that award

meant to her and the `film. “There is

indie cinema like Lady Bird or Juno,

but they are still structured. Then

there is true indie cinema. This was

something special about Badsville.

This is why I entered the film industry

and why I love storytelling. It was

a small group of seventeen, shot in

eighteen days. I’m so proud to have it

so well received.”

Badsville was written by its two

lead actors and first-time writers,

Benjamin Barett and Ian McLaren.

They were very attached and just

as a director may be picky when

choosing a project, writers can also

want the right person to bring their

vision to life. With Badsville, it appears

everyone involved felt in love with the

material and the two visions aligned.

“These two actors wrote this script

and they’re really attached. it’s really

special. So I read it and it feels so fresh,

so unique in this overly violent world

mixed with this gorgeous love story

with a greaser rockabilly feel. It had

a unique tone that I had never done

before. I couldn’t stop thinking about

It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role

of the corporeal Dominika Egorova, and

despite any missteps script-side, Jennifer

Lawrence delivers a performance that yearns

as much as it hypnotizes. Within minutes of

dimmed lights, decorated ballerina, Egorova

(played by Lawrence) snaps her leg midperformance,

kicking off a content-heavy

plot line. In order to pay medical bills for her

sick mother, Egorova is forced into a new life

as an emotionally manipulative weapon for

the Russian Government — a Sparrow. At

the same time, we meet American CIA agent,

Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton), who crosses paths

with Egorova after she’s tasked with finding

the mole he keeps tabs on. The two weave in

and out of deceits with one another, until a

final ultimate connection leaves each with a

fresh beginning in what ends up being a tense

yet poignant finish.

At the hands of a dense, plot-point filled

first half, the story rarely has a chance to

sit still. Instead, well-composed shots with

muted yet sparsely vibrant pallets fly by

at speeds unforgiving. There’s a level of

ultra-violence carried through, and those

even slightly squeamish may not survive the

torture sequences without hyperventilating.

The rate at which the story reveals new

the script. I had an interview with

Ben and Ian and had images for them,

musical references…sometimes it’s

just meant to be.”

April Mullen not only had to direct

this unique vision from the two

talented writers but they were also

starring in it. The pressure for them

and her to bring this story to life was

always there but the connection to

the material comes through in the

final product. “It was always their

intention to play the main characters.

They wrote it as a vehicle to showcase

their abilities. A big part is casting

your leads and you don’t know what

they’re capable of. It was obvious to

me how passionate they are. They are

leading men, how vulnerable they are.

One is a wrestler and the other is a

professional hockey player and does

stunts. The physicality of the role was

there but it was the emotion that

shined through. It was a gut instinct.”

Badsville can be seen now on all VOD

platforms and iTunes. A Canadian

female directed film getting great

reviews deserves to be seen.

and intriguing information is, however,

enjoyable. Director, Francis Lawrence,

succeeds in creating a near fully realized

world, one that feeds on coincidence but

draws strength in its utilization of a cast of

big name actors who embellish and augment

anything written in the script.

On the surface, the story is very much

a cold-war thriller for the modern age.

Another level deeper, the heartbreaking

tale of battered and abused Egorova invites

discussions around the necessity for women

to rely on sexuality when left with no other

options. Unfortunately, that’s about as far

as F. Lawrence allows the audience to delve,

and any philosophical contemplations are

left behind in the wake of a finale that sparks

more questions than it does answers. To be

fair, Red Sparrow never held the expectations

of an art-house masterpiece. Drawing

influence from page-turner paperback

mysteries, the story pays more attention

to developing surprise than it ever does

with its themes. Potentially predictable, the

twists and turns are fun to watch, and the

dedication to an embodiment of character

J. Lawrence has on display is impressive,

although, at this point in her career, should

shock no one.

THIS

MONTH

IN FILM

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL CINEMA

BRENDAN LEE

The Death of Stalin - March 9

From the creator of infamous TV

comedy, Veep, comes a feature length

film cut from a similar satirical cloth.

Writer/director Armando Iannucci

returns to the big screen with a tonguein-cheek

look at the death of one of

history’s deadliest dictators. Banned

in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan and

Kazakhstan, this social commentary

might be one to line up for.

Unsane - March 23

Prepare to be visually manipulated. Take

slow, deep breaths and focus the mind

in a desperate attempt to shut off from

the horrors around you. Try, but fail,

to hide from the fact that everything

you’re scared of exists, solely, within

your own head. Shot entirely on an

iPhone, Unsane stars Claire Foy as she

takes the troubled lead in Soderbergh’s

latest, visceral feast.

Isle of Dogs - March 23

Wes Anderson is the undisputed king

of quirky emotional escapades and is

back with a new stop-motion fable. In a

futuristic Japan, young Atari Kobayashi

ventures to an island of quarantined

canines and, with the help of a few

certain mutts, searches amidst the

waste for his own lost best friend.

Isle of Dogs

March 2018


MUSIC REVIEWS

Hot Snakes

Jericho Sirens

Sub Pop

When you’ve been kicking around the indie

rock scene as long as influential punk rock

singer/guitarist/visual artist Rick Froberg (Obits,

Pitchfork, et al.) there aren’t too many ‘firsts’

left to conquer. But, here’s where things get

interesting. After fourteen years apart Froberg’s

gettin’ the old band back together. He’s on a

mission from Sub Pop and he’s not taking ‘No!’ for

an answer. Reamalgamating the acclaimed group

he formed back in 2000 with fellow former Drive

Like Jehu bandmate John Reiss (also of Rocket

From The Crypt), Froberg has emerged with the

‘first’ new Hot Snakes album in fourteen years and

on a new record label to boot!

A long-awaited return from the garage punk

legends, Jericho Sirens (Sub Pop) was recorded

over the course of 2017 between the Hot

Snakes’ home range in San Diego and a stint

in Philadelphia. A self-produced effort that

reunites Froberg and Reis with bassist Gar Wood

and drummers Jason Kourkounis and Mario

Rubalcaba, Jericho Sirens fulfills the promises

made on the band’s first three albums; Automatic

Midnight (2000), Suicide Invoice (2002) and Audit

in Process (2004). It’s worth noting that all three

of these earlier LPs, which were originally under

the Swami Records label, have been reissued on

coloured vinyl this past January thanks to Sub Pop.

Let it be known, Hot Snakes has shed its dry

winter skin and has emerged shinier and more

watertight than ever. A year spent shaking off the

rust by touring live has left the veteran punkrockers

limber and supple enough to execute

some pretty gnarly manoeuvers. Dropping into

surf-fresh material with the frenetic opener

“I Need a Doctor,” they echo The Ramones

pharmaceutical plea with a nerve and string jangly

jitteriness that sets the whole album off on a tear.

The tremulous tantrum continues with “Candid

Camera” planting sonic sinkholes along the path

to a perilous “Death Camp Fantasy” shore. Foamflecked

epithets are hurled like stones and some of

them really smart when they strike home.

Picking up the already maddening pace, Hot

Snakes crash through bramble patches of extreme

rawness, as on “Why Don’t It Sink,” then pull a

complete switch-foot and drop into a barrel of

the smoothest most sophisticated punk ‘n’ roll

with “Six Wave Hold Down” and the album’s

hypermobile title track. A half-dozen breakers

under the influence of Hot Snakes’ hot-and-cold

swell should be enough to drown the worst of

your sorrows. Or, so Froberg and Reiss would lead

you believe. Their conviction cannot be doubted

as they throw themselves headlong into heavy

hitters like “Have Another” with its angular guitar

angst and angry insistence. “You’re screwed!”

Froberg repeatedly howls as his bandmates

relentlessly pursue him with surging strings and

militarized percussion.

Doubling down on the ecstatic dirge “Death

Doula,” the entire group scribbles their love mark

on the park bench behind your favourite pizza

joint. Maybe your adolescence wasn’t all that

remarkable, but listening to the taut threads

that run through the brattish “Psychoactive” and

delinquent gestures of “Death of a Sportsman,”

you can certainly repeal that shortcoming with a

serious dose of Hot Snakes’ vicarious cool.

Final word, you don’t have to see the cover

photo of bassist/surfdawg Gar Wood tube-riding

to pick up on Jericho Sirens’ wild and free Wet

Coast vibe, but you do have to wonder how Hot

Snakes manage to get the salt stains out of their

leather jackets.

• Christine Leonard

• Illustration by My-An Nguyen

March 2018 29


SUNDAY MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY

MARCH

01

FRIDAY

02

Live Nation presents:

Terra Lightfoot

w/ William Crighton

SATURDAY

SWITCH

(dance party)

03

04

Timbre Concerts presents:

Thunderpussy

w/ Cobra Ramone

Ear Muffs

05

KARAOKE!

06

07

08

09

Small Town

Artillery

w/ Chase The Bear

10

Timbre Concerts presents:

Cut Chemist

11

Ear Muffs

12

KARAOKE!

13

14

Bear Child

w/ guests

15

16

17

18

Ear Muffs

19

KARAOKE!

20

Divided

Heaven

w/ The Greatest Sons

& Chief State

21

22

Layne

w/ Selfish Things

The Broken

Islands

w/ special guests

23

24

Timbre Concerts presents:

Ought

w/ guests

25

Ear Muffs

26

KARAOKE!

27

Frigs

w/ Shesaring Pinx

& Tunic

28

I Am The Eggplant presents:

Public Access T.V.

w/ The Soft White Sixties

29

The Damn Truth

w/ Redwoods

& 9 O’Clock Gun

30

I Am The Eggplant presents:

Sailor Poon

w/ guests

31

Timbre Concerts presents:

Shred Kelly

Thurs 01 - Cuddy Sessions Thurs 15 - Precious

Tues 06 - Vibe Corridor Tues 20 - Vibe Corridor

Thurs 08 - Actual Dads Wed 21 - Soft Spot

Tues 13 - Vibe Corridor Thurs 22- Boss Takeover

Wed 14 - Spirit Music Tues 27 - Vibe Corridor


Ed Schrader’s Music Beat - Riddles Lucy Dacus - Historian Nap Eyes - I’m Bad Now

Essaie Pas

New Path

DFA

Cinematic is certainly an overused adjective when it comes to music,

but it’s near-impossible to avoid when describing Essaie Pas. The

taut marathon of severe synth bludgeoning that made their 2016

release, Demain est une autre nuit, so delightful was that it was

partly indebted to musical innovations made in film scores like Blade

Runner and Giallo flicks.

The Montreal duo’s return to DFA with New Path retains tradition

while being aptly named: the dystopian coldwave of the release still

sounds hand-hewn and ruthless, but adopts a slicker varnish that

helps make the menacing medicine go down. Every sound on the

record feels richer, from the fuller bass to the higher-fidelity synths.

The tactile feel of this record sells the listening experience on its

own, but keener listeners may want to head to Genius or Google

Translate to explore the sometimes French-language, sometimes

just plain inscrutable lyrics. According to promotional materials, the

subject matter is (fittingly) inspired by Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner

Darkly, and there are field recording passages that may take some

careful listening to contextualize properly. But don’t be afraid of a

little extra work. Sometimes the best thing a record can do is hook

you with its veneer and implore you to find your own way into the

underlying complexities.

• Colin Gallant

Lucy Dacus

Historian

Matador Records

Since being signed to Matador Records, Lucy Dacus has honed

her craft as a talented storyteller. Moving away from her more

folksy roots that were heard on No Burden, Historian is a beautiful

sophomore album. The opening track “Night Shift” takes the listener

on a heartbreaking journey through a particularly heinous break up,

that ends with her praying that she’ll never see her ex again if she can

help it. You can sense her growth on this album and while not fully

polished yet, this album is the start of a promising future.

• Kennedy Enns

Miesha and the Spanks

Girls Girls Girls

Independent

Calgary duo Miesha & The Spanks deliver the party in their newest

record Girls Girls Girls, a pop-rock feast for the ears that never slows

down once you hit the play button. The first thing that comes to

mind when you listen to this album is the sheer production value it

has, probably thanks to The Buzzcocks Danny Farrants producing.

The usual issue with bands that are duos is that recordings can feel

empty with a lot of over-blown guitar to fill out the mid-range, but

thankfully this whole album is dynamic enough to feel full, even

when there are just vocals and drums.

The song writing is very hook-heavy, which plays to the bands

strength to get your feet moving. However, this does make it a little

bit difficult to tell the songs apart. While the high-energy rock n’

roll never becomes tedious, the album does tread familiar water

throughout.

Nevertheless, Girls Girls Girls is a party-anthem dinger that will get

feet moving and keep the drinks flowing.

• Will Cowan

Nap Eyes

I’m Bad Now

Paradise Of Bachelors/You’ve Changed Records

Haligonian quartet Nap Eyes are what you would get if you put

Blue Rodeo, the Velvet Underground and a handful of university

professors in a studio together to write songs. Led by Nigel Chapman,

the Nova Scotian band has made a name for themselves by releasing

two stellar albums of Maritime slacker rock chock full of twangy

Canadiana. I’m Bad Now, their third full-length (and final album in an

informal trilogy), expands on their previous releases while sounding

more clear-headed and full of purpose.

Chapman writes whip smart lyrics that are impenetrable to a fault.

Still, with a little investigation, these songs reveal themselves in time.

It’s a testament to the band that even if they didn’t, Chapman’s

still managed to churn out hooks like “I can’t tell what’s worse, the

meaninglessness or the negative meaning / I figured out a way to

get on with my life and to keep on dreaming” as he does on the lead

single “Everytime The Feeling.”

• Jamie McNamara

Scenic Route to Alaska

Tough Luck

popTrip Records

Since dropping their successful third album, 2016’s Long Walk Home,

Scenic Route to Alaska has grown in popularity and accolades in

their hometown of Edmonton, Alberta and across the world. The

trio travelled to Vancouver, BC to work with the notable Howard

Redekopp (Tegan & Sara, The New Pornographers) on their fourth

record, Tough Luck, just as they did with Long Walk Home.

Although their Indie-folk rock sound didn’t evolve much between

Tough Luck and their prior LPs, listeners remain unbothered because,

well, why change something that doesn’t need to be fixed? What did

shift, was the lyrics. Long Walk Home touches on the difficult parts

of love and how life can get complicated, through catchy vocals and

indelible melodies. Tough Luck on the other hand, has a lot more

depth to it. “Lonely Nights” and lead single “Slow Down” tackles

life on the road and the self-inflicted loneliness and short-lived

relationships that come along with jumping from city to city

Despite the fact that the topics can seem bleak or desolate, there

is a sense of hope and prosperity in Trevor Mann’s (lead singer)

voice in every single song. Tough Luck goes from ballads to resonant

anthems leaving something for everyone to cling to, reeling you in

again and again.

• Mackenzie Mason

Ed Schrader’s Music Beat

Riddles

Carpark Records

Ed Schrader has always walked a fine between surrealism and punk.

His vocal and percussive savagery always threaten to overwhelm, but

a contingent of demure minimalism has always kept the levee intact.

That bait-and-switch approach is replaced by a mutated melding

of Schrader extremes on Riddles. The best example may be “Seagulls,”

where his brooding baritone is underlaid by finger-snaps before

devolving into an electronic collage, then corroding into a blitz of

yelps and distortion.

Schrader’s journey with co-hort Devlin Rice has been patient,

making this new chapter a logical evolution, but it would be a

mistake not to note that fellow Baltimorean Dan Deacon co-wrote

and produced this new batch of tracks. Deacon’s under-recognized

versatility can be heard throughout, but especially on singles

“Dunce” (an almost QOTSA dose of seared swagger) and “Riddles”

(where Schrader humours anthemic vocals atop a meteor shower of

piano).

The best thing about Riddles is that Schrader and Rice have

reassembled the best parts of themselves while taking on a new

dimension. New fan or old, now is the right time to pay close

attention to the Music Beat.

• Colin Gallant

Soccer Mommy

Clean

Fat Possum

As the brainchild of rising indie act Soccer Mommy, 20-year-old

Sophie Allison writes about youthful relationships like a fire marshal

examining the aftermath of a five-alarm blaze. Clean, first full album

of new material since 2017’s Collection, finds the Nashville band

moving from the bedroom to the studio without leaving any rawness

behind.

Clean retains Allison’s ability to write introspective lyrics that are

couched inside of full-blown anthems like she does on lead single

“Your Dog.” The song features some of Allison’s best lyricism as she

asserts “I don’t wanna be your fucking dog, that you drag around / a

March 2018 31


Soccer Mommy - Clean Superorganism - Superorganism Yo La Tengo - There’s a Riot Going On

collar round my neck, leave me in the freezing cold.” It’s just one of

many times Allison asserts her autonomy on Clean and like much

of the album, it feels like a willful backlash against male indie rock

tropes.

• Jamie McNamara

Superorganism

Superorganism

Domino Records

When Orono Noguchi (lead singer of Superorganism) discovered

“The Eversons” via her Youtube recommendations, neither her

nor the Kiwi group could have imagined that two years later they

would form a band and grow to be labelled as “2017’s buzziest new

band.” Superorganism introduces their debut album Superorganism

on March 2nd, featuring viral singles such as “Everybody Wants To

Be Famous” and “Something For Your M.I.N.D.” This psychedelic

supergroup consisting of eight band members from Japan, Australia,

New Zealand, London and South Korea take anything they can get

their hands on and transform it into music. Things as simple as eating

an apple, snoring or the fizz from a soda can can be heard in the

trippy featured tracks “Relax” and “It’s All Good” creating a unique

and bizarre sound unlike anything else you’ve ever heard. The record

explores contrasting volumes and sounds integrating multiple genres

into one style, ensuring there will be something for everyone. Guitar,

drums and lots of synth mixed with sounds from your everyday life is

what makes up Superorganism and is what makes it so enticing.

• Mackenzie Mason

Yo La Tengo

There’s a Riot Going On

Matador Records

It’s a bold call on the part of Yo La Tengo to name their latest album

after Sly and the Family Stone’s seminal 1971 masterwork, but not

entirely unfounded. Much like the era in which its predecessor was

recorded, There’s a Riot Going On exists in a time rife with hyperpolitical

criticism. But rather than release a collection of soul-infused

jams, Yo La Tengo have opted for a much more plaintive approach.

Musically, There’s a Riot Going On is an extension of the sound

that the Hoboken three-piece have curated over their almost 35

years in the business. Singer-guitarist Ira Kaplan and drummer

Georgia Hubley leapfrog vocal duties, with the former taking the

helm on “She May, She Might” and “For You Too,” and Hubley on the

melancholic “Shades of Blue” and “Ashes.” But perhaps the biggest

change with Riot is their foray into mostly ambient tracks (“You Are

Here,” “Short Wave”) which finds the band at their most patient,

comfortably letting themselves drift into almost six-minute pieces of

drone and diegesis.

It’s safe to say that with this album Yo La Tengo transcend genre in

a very distinct way, ebbing closer into the ethos of feeling rather than

form. Much like the American societal dissonance that’s threatening

to tear a country apart, There’s A Riot Going On has a power running

underneath its surface; a decades-old build-up mirrored now in a

band with 15 albums under their belt. They feel something big is

happening. Don’t you?

• Alec Warkentin

LA VIDA LOCAL

HOMEGROWN VANCOUVER MUSIC RELEASES

Blood Maachine

Goodbye Old Friends

Independent

After occupying most of his time since

2015 as the owner of The Heatley,

Michael Brennan has returned to

the music scene with a new EP, titled

Goodbye Old Friends, under the

moniker Blood Maachine.

Whether it’s the recurrent strumming

on “The Devil You Know,” the trickling

keys on “Lay Me Down,” or the

ironically uplifting crescendos of the

title track “Goodbye Old Friends,”

this EP is a solid representation

of Brennan’s ability to cohesively

combine his unique, raspy vocals with

grungy alternative rock. Goodbye Old

Friends explores the alternating shifts

of life whilst displaying an impressive

collection of musically diverse tracks, a

powerful re-entrance into the musical

world for such a passionate supporter

of the East Van music community.

Highland Eyeway

Waiting for Your Love

Independent

• Frankie Ryott

Having just released their debut LP

in November, recorded at Gabriola

Island’s The Noise Floor, Vancouver’s

Highland Eyeway keep things

consistent with their new EP. Waiting

for Your Love melds garage-tinged

psych rock with fuzzy, sludgy guitar

riffs. The first two songs pace well

together, with the title track “Waiting

for Your Love” being the highlight of

the release. After secluding themselves

on Gabriola once again, Highland

Eyeway come across sounding like

a well-intentioned shoegaze band

discovered peyote after going to a

doom metal show.

The C U Next Tuesdays

Fight, Fuck, Drink, Destroy

Independent

• Willem Thomas

More than an EP, Fight, Fuck, Drink,

Destroy is a statement. With fast chord

progressions, anthem-like choruses,

and a strong message, The C U Next

Tuesdays’ debut release displays the

best of Vancouver’s resurging punk

scene. Heavily influenced by the lo-fi

and raw sound of the early ‘80s, this

all-female quartet’s riot punk comes

with an extra shot of attitude. Fans of

D.O.A., Bikini Kill, and Mudhoney will

like this.

• Thomas Sadek

WTCHDR

Failed Ambition

Independent

On Failed Ambition, vocalist Chris

Stiles grabs you by the shoulders and

yells in your face, unhinged, shattering

the stoned mood set by the initial

riff on the album’s first track, “The

Glass Has Never Been So Empty”

– “Something needs to change!”

What that something is, exactly, is

never determined. Failed Ambition

is the sound of desperate, urgent life

questions that have gone unanswered.

WTCHDR’s latest offering is driven

by dissatisfaction with this lack of

answers and coming face-to-face with

a bleak present and uncertain future.

The band has succeeded in distilling

crushing personal failure and seething

hopelessness into a brutal, dizzying

tonic of hardcore that breaks only to

make sure you’re still breathing so it

can keep kicking your ass.

• Daniel Robichaud

32

March 2018


LIVE

Miguel

PNE Forum

February 24, 2018

Photo by Jash Grafstein

Miguel’s War & Leisure Tour performance in

Vancouver was a testament to his immense

growth since the humble years of opening for

Drake at Roger’s Arena back in 2013. Gone was

his hard ’80s punk aesthetic with its sleek mod

suits, studs, leather, and chains. In its stead the

R&B singer opted for a more relaxed, island

lounging persona, complete with chin length

braids, and comfy white and yellow t-shirts.

Backdrops of Caribbean sunsets, bright blue

skies, and general splashes of colour supported

this vacation vibe further and provided the

Thurston Moore w/ Parquet

Courts

Imperial, Vancouver

February 15, 2018

There are some musicians who sound best

in a live setting, and Thurston Moore is a

shining example. To hear him perform in

person is to experience a master class in

rock. Co-headlining with Parquet Courts,

Moore and his backing band – including

former Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley,

My Bloody Valentine bassist Deb Googe, and

guitarist James Sedwards – played a sold-out

show at the Imperial on Friday night.

Moore walked onstage wordlessly before

unleashing the first number, “Cease Fire.”

It was the kind of song his fans could

expect, opening softly before bursting

with grunge rock vigour. Off of Rock n Roll

Consciousness, Moore’s latest album, the

band’s performance of “Turn On” highlighted

Moore and Shelley’s fantastic chemistry.

Most of the songs were similarly structured:

after playing the main part, the band would

drift into a noisy interval before entering a

Vancouver audience with a reprieve from the

massive snowstorm of the day before. With this

latest transformation, Miguel seemed to have

finally shaken off his Prince influence, and grown

comfortable enough in his own skin to show us

who he really is.

Musically, Miguel was entirely consistent. We

got to hear tracks doused in sexuality. This is

what Miguel does best, a fact attested to by the

predominantly female audience at the show. He

had the crowd singing, “I want to fuck all night,”

without a shadow of a blush, many times over.

Miguel’s brand is also unique in that it fuses

the sensuality and intimacy of R&B with the

sheer horsepower of rock and roll. His bassist,

guitarist, drummer, and keyboardist provided

Photo by Zee Khan

tunnel of shrieking, esoteric feedback. A few

people in the audience grew restless, but

overall, the crowd was enthusiastic about the

indie rock veteran.

Once Parquet Courts took the stage, it

was an entirely different beast. The band

was more animated compared to the cool

and composed Moore. As soon as A. Savage

barked the first few lyrics of “Ducking and

Dodging,” raucous beer-throwing, moshing,

and crowd-surfing ensued. At one point, a

brazen fan jumped on stage to hype up the

audience, only to be quickly chased off by

security. “If you’re going to get on this stage,

get back the fuck off,” guitarist Austin Brown

quipped.

Never the type to conform to one sound,

Parquet Courts switched gears midway

through the set to play more measured jams,

including the slow-burning “One Man No

City,” which descended into a hazy, postpunk

delirium. Capping off the night was

the sprawling “Uncast Shadow of a Southern

Myth,” a nice nod to the band’s co-headliner

and noise rock predecessor.

• Karina Espinosa

Miguel’s indefatigable vocals with a framework

that emphasised his talents and allowed him to

achieve this genre-mixing with authenticity.

The stage, with a ramp connecting its

two levels and studded with light bulbs, was

perfect for Miguel to show off his dancing as he

traversed its length and breadth with luscious

body rolls, ambitious knee slides, and classic hip

hop party moves. The track listing drew largely

from the well-reviewed new “War & Leisure”

album, but fans got treated to some old classics

as well. “Adorn” proved to still have what it takes

to makes masses collectively sway, while the

“Skywalker” encore ended the evening with a

much-appreciated, feel-good bang.

To see Miguel go from a small supporting act

to having hundreds filling the PNE and eating

out of his willing hands was heart-warming.

While his peers address serious societal issues,

and comment on the troubling tides washing

over us, Miguel is concentrating on making us

feel good with primal emotions of love and

sex. That’s what his show was all about. It was a

warm, sexy sanctuary in a world of panic.

• Prachi Kamble

The Belle Game

The Imperial

February 24, 2018

There was nothing but good vibes at the Imperial,

despite the blanket of snow outside when the Belle

Game brought their uplifting and expansive soundscape

home with messages of empowerment. While their

new album Fear/Nothing swoops towards a more

true, ethereal, crush-pop sound, there is no lack in

soul or rock qualities that make you want to dance.

Powerhouse and lead singer, Andrea Lo, killed it with

her sultry voice; coming out in a long patterned kimono

style robe, and shirt sporting the words “free yourself.”

This, seemed to be the general theme of the evening.

With a sincere hope their music would positively impact

the crowd, Lo, continuously checked in, ensuring they

were surrounded in that positivity.

Opening with “River,” off of their debut LP, “Ritual

Tradition Habit,” fans were quickly immersed in

dream-like liquid sound. Lo, breathed notes effortlessly,

singing in an unbelievably large range, while a dreamy

array of textures were laid out by Katrina Jones (keys),

and Adam Nanji (guitar). The continual toss between

standard drums and electronic drums, played by Alex

Andrew, added rhythmic variance to their unique

sound.

Half way through the set, the band plays “Bring

Me,” off of their new album, Fear/Nothing. The songs

explicit lyrics lend to a sort of raw passion, similarly to

the general vibe of the album. Lo introduces the song as

taking the energy to a darker mood, but this could have

also been taken again, from a point of empowerment,

with themes of sexuality.

Nearing the end of the set, the band played “Spirit,”,

broadcasting an unbelievably large vocal arrangement.

The effort to free the minds of fans, creating a sense of

elevation through intention, was well received. The Belle

Game, an undeniable outlet to feel and free yourself.

• Jamila Pomeroy

Photo by Tim Nguyen

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BILTMORECABARET.COM

March 2018 33


NEW MOON RISING

YOUR MONTHLY HOROSCOPE

QUAN YIN DIVINATION

Month of the Wood Rabbit


Action and initiation are favoured now.

This month is a generally harmonious

and agreeable time for many, especially

as it relates to family and home. It is a

fire combination and so we can expect

a bit of sunlight, warmth, and, yes, by

the full moon on March 31, an early

spring! With the Lunar New Year, we

welcome in the Earth Dog gently – but

don’t let the calm start to the year

fool you. The Dog has bite and bark,

but we might not see it until later this

year when the energy is more settled.

Rabbits love peace, the home, quiet

restful environments, and, above all,

beauty. The challenge is to take care not

to offend as harsh words (we saw a lot

of this in the Rooster year) will not be

tolerated by the dignified and refined

Rabbit.

A cardinal sign and a romance star,

this month turns the tides and gives

back a little to the love-starved Dog,

Tiger, and Horse, who are planning

their weddings, plotting their breakups,

or working on their complicated

situations. The Earth flow of the year is

subdued by this month’s wood stem,

so the slow and heavy energies that

will soon be upon us are, for a time,

suppressed by the prospects of new

birth, beginnings, and even the coming

of a new age.

Rabbit (Pisces): Peace of mind comes

from taking time to establish a calm

centre. Meditate, contemplate, and

make your primary connection with

your inner world, and all outer worlds

will come into harmonious union also.

Dragon (Aries): Riding the profound

impact of last year, you’re ready for

the changes that are coming your way.

Resistance is futile, so you might as well

move toward what you desire with full

speed and conviction. Beware all those

who stand opposed.

Snake (Taurus): Petty quarrels can be

resolved with generous and righteous

action. Your virtue may be tested this

month, and it’s better to give freely than

to be dragged into bitter disputes over

small stuff – and don’t forget, it’s all

small stuff.

Horse (Gemini): Tired? How can your

tireless attitude carry you through at

this time when overwhelm, overdoing,

or over-thinking comes so much

more naturally? A motivating force is

to remember that nature is the only

master of Time, and there is a time for

everything.

Sheep (Cancer): Inspiration comes

from seeking out those who may know

more than you to actively engage,

participate, follow, or simply be around

the energy that feels best for you.

Replace any feelings of anger or hurt

with the sound of your favourite music

or artistic event.

Monkey (Leo): This is the perfect time

to work on your appearance or public

expression. Perhaps a professional

photo shoot or a headshot would boost

your reputation and give you an edge

over others? Spend wisely, but make

your money work for you now.

Rooster (Virgo): Step up to challenge

with conviction and be careful not to

step on any toes along the way. The

pressures of the moment may leave you

feeling grouchy, but bite your tongue

– nobody needs to hear what they

already know.

Dog (Libra): Set reasonable limits

on your time so that you can

accomplish what you need to do now,

and put off anything that can wait.

Yes, procrastinate! Distractions and

sidetracks can make things more hectic

than they need to be – unless you love

to be very busy?

Pig (Scorpio): Gently care for yourself

and you will find those around you

participate. Pick up tickets for a show

for you and a friend. There’s plenty to

see and do, and so many friends enjoy

your interests and your company, too.

Rat (Sagittarius): Emotion is natural,

but if we take action from a place

of strong emotion we risk losing our

way. Limit social interactions when

you are not in a place to contain your

feelings. Meditate, contemplate, seek

compassionate company, and wait it

out if you have to.

Ox (Capricorn): Being different means

that you sometimes stand out in a

crowd. If it feels hard to fit in, it might

be because you are being asked to step

into the position of a leader. Embody

your personal power by keeping your

cool under pressure; avoid a blow out,

and you will draw others onto your side.

Tiger (Aquarius): You might have to

carry the full burden of the project if

you want it done your way, but there’s

still a lot that others can offer. Seek

counsel from others first, then go

forward with the plan that emerges

from consensus, whether you wholly

agree or not.

34

March 2018


CANADA’S LARGEST INDEPENDENT CONCERT PROMOTER

UPCOMING SHOWS

ARCHITECTS WITH COUNTERPARTS

AND STICK TO YOUR GUNS

THE WHITE BUFFALO

WITH MATTHEW BARBER

MACHINE HEAD

WITH GUESTS

March 1 - Vogue Theatre March 3 - Imperial Vancouver March 6 - The Commodore Ballroom

THE RUBENS

WITH EMILY ROWED

March 11 - The Biltmore Cabaret

KIM CHURCHILL WITH CHRISTIAN

HUDSON

March 13 - Fox Cabaret

U.S. GIRLS

WITH GROUP VISION

March 25 - The Biltmore Cabaret

MOUNT EERIE

WITH GUESTS

CHINESE MAN

WITH GUESTS

THE BRONX

WITH NO PARENTS AND NEEDS

March 30 - Vogue Theatre March 31 - Venue April 2 - Rickshaw Theatre

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE AT MRGCONCERTS.COM

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